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Wisconsin National Agenda

Cover design shows an eye reflecting the image of an adult holding a child's hand; the child is holding a cane.

Cover Design: Vanessa Braasch, A 6th Grade Student, with a Visual Impairment, Cambridge, WI
5/2000

When Your Child's Diagnosis Is a Visual Impairment ...

  • "Our pediatrician has diagnosed our child as having a serious visual impairment. What does this mean? How will our child learn to do things?"
  • "My visually impaired daughter is afraid to walk by herself. How can I help her gain confidence?"
  • "My son holds things very close to look at them and sits right in front of the TV. Why does he do this even with his glasses on?"
  • "Our four-year old son who is blind has little interaction with others his age ... how can he learn the social skills he needs to make friends?"
  • " My daughter has multiple disabilities and I have just found out she is also legally blind, but I know that she sees her favorite large stuffed animal. How can this be?"

The purpose of this brochure is to provide information about where to seek assistance for a child who is blind or has a vision loss.

  • A visual impairment impacts all aspects of a child's life.
  • Most learning comes from seeing what is happening around us.
  • The earlier a child receives interventions and learning opportunities, the easier it will be for him/her to develop adaptive skills.

Making the Right Connections

Who Can Help?

There is a wide variety of people, services and agencies that can assist a child who is blind or visually impaired to learn and develop skills. Some are listed below.

Special Education Directors:

Your local school district has personnel that can assist you in locating programs that are appropriate for your child's age.

County Nurses:

These professionals can assist you in locating agencies, and in helping you understand medical information.

Teachers of the Visually Impaired:

  • These professionals are trained to work with you and your child.
  • They can assist you with understanding your child's vision loss and how it impacts his/her education.
  • They will work with your child to develop independence in their educational setting through the use of instructional adaptations and special materials.

Orientation and Mobility Instructors:

These professionals teach your child to develop an understanding of where they are in their environment and how to travel as safely and independently as possible within his/her home, school and community.

State Services:

Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

Ask for the Educational Consultant for Students with Visual Impairments

PO Box 7841
Madison, WI 53707-7841
1-800-441-4563 or 1-608-266-3522

Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Ask for the birth to 3 consultant or for the school age child consultant

1700 West State Street
Jnesville, WI 53546
1-800-832-9784

Wisconsin First Step

1-800-642-STEP (7837)

Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Children

(Private Birth-5 Agency)

5600 West Brown Deer Road
Milwaukee, WI 53223
1-414-355-3060

County and Local Agencies

Child Find:

For children 3 years of age and older, contact your local school district office.

County Nurses:

For children of all ages, look in the directory under local government agencies for county nurses.

Local School District:

For school age children, ask for the special education director.

National Parent Organizations:

(These people can refer you to your local chapters.)

National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC)

1800 Johnson St.
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-410-659-9314, ext. 360

National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI)

PO Box 317
Watertown, MA 02471
1-800-562-6265

Final Note:

Remember that your child will need to see his/her eye care specialist regularly.

Ophthalmologist/Optometrists:

These professionals help by making sure your child's eyes are healthy and can see as well as possible through eye exams, glasses, contact lenses, special visual aids and other services.

Developed by The Wisconsin National Agenda Committee. This and other documents may be found www.dpi.state.wi.us/dpi/dlsea/ wcbvi/index.html

This brochure may be photocopied as needed.

Braille or large print copies of this brochure may be obtained from the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired 1-800-832-9784

2/2001