Christine lost her eye sight after a autoimmune disease left her blind. She was diagnosed with a rare eye condition called Neuromyelitis Optica. She can still see a little but for all intents and purposes she is blind.
Raising a child with a visual impairment has been a journey for sure. As I met other people with visual impairments I have become aware of stuff that I have taken for granted. With a sighted baby, I have also realized that there is a lot that a visually impaired person doesn’t ever get to see. But, there is a HUGE world of stuff they can.
So, I scoured the net and found some tips for those that are visually impaired and want to be in the kitchen. (These tips are actually good for some every day things with kids who are visually impaired. I will do my best to tie those in!)
1) Keep things in the same place! When in a kitchen having the ingredients all in the same place and in an orderly fashion, means that they don’t get turned around and they have all they need. The same with kiddos with a visual impairment. Ty has to have a room mapped out for him. He didn’t use to. As he has gotten older and things have gotten worse, he needs us to talk him through where things are. After he knows, we keep them in the same place.
2) Auto Labeling: If you can’t have a braille label on things do something that will set it apart from something else that looks the same or feels the same. This goes along with the 1st one in our world. You have to have consistency in order to get it right for the kiddos.
3) Listen to the sponge cake : Obviously, blind cooks can’t see when it is done. They can only use what other senses they have. With kiddos, it is a lot the same thing. We have him use his other senses to help him out. We have him look closer to things, he touches EVERYTHING. He will touch his food, he uses his hands instead of just looking to see something.
4)Carry as little as possible: Keep it small, keep it clean. I am the WORST at this. But in our kiddos world less is more. Since moving (and having a housekeeper in Utah) I have been far more impressed with his ability to get around. I was not a hoarder by any means, but we have more open space in our house here. He uses that space more effectively. Things on the floor, when you can’t see ( or walk!) can make life a little more interesting. If you need to and can, hire a housekeeper to help you out.
5) Sauce pan not a frying pan! By using a sauce pan there is less of a chance of spilling hot oil. How does that apply to kids? Use anything and everything to make their life easier and give them a chance to experience everything. ADAPT!! Ty can’t see fire works. Instead of fireworks we make light sticks works. Instead of not having a easter egg hunt, we adapt. You do what you can do.
Last but not least you become ok with what you have and you enjoy. There are days when it is SO hard. There are days when it is sad and days when it is fine. There are things that we just roll with the punches.
Good luck Christine!!