A Mother’s Reflections on Parenting a Child with a Visual Impairment
Authors: LaQuesa Wright, Mother of a Student with a Visual Impairment
Keywords: low vision, self-determination, parenting, support, advocacy, independence
My name is LaQuesa Wright. I am a mother of three. Demetria Ober is my 22-year-old daughter who was born with a rare eye condition called Congenital Maculopathy. Unfortunately, we were unaware of her visual impairment until she was ten years old. As a child, Demetria was your everyday curious, playful, happy kid. There were no signs of a visual impairment. She was always a straight-A student; she played with her sister and all of the other kids and just did all of the average kid things. Now that we know she is visually impaired, as I look back, I do think there were signs. As a parent, I didn’t want to believe that my child had any imperfections.
As Demetria was growing up as a young child with low vision, I had high expectations for her ultimate goal of independence. As my middle child, she was expected to clean, maintain daily responsibilities, and function in the same way that I expected my other two children. I wouldn’t say it was harder raising a child with a visual impairment, although I must admit that she required more of my attention. I felt it was my job to instill in her ample confidence so that she would grow up to understand that for her, the sky was the limit. I wanted to show her how to adapt things that would make life a bit easier for her and allow her to live an independent life. I gave her tough love when necessary and held her accountable just like my other children.
There was a moment when I felt that Demetria was battling depression. It just seemed as if she was stuck in a bubble and struggling to find herself. I truly believe that sending her to the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) in the 8th grade helped her to come into herself. I saw a different Demetria during her time at TSBVI. She began getting involved in theater, became a star athlete, and seemed more vibrant than I have ever seen her. Getting that support from TSBVI, the staff, and its teachers that took us in as family is an experience that we will never forget and are so grateful for.