Transitioning an Adopted Child to School

Edy is originally from Guatemala and we adopted him when he was five years old. Edy has three older siblings who are our biological children. Our oldest daughter first met Edy while volunteering in his orphanage during her gap year, before entering Harvard University.

One by one, we all met Edy and fell in love with this amazing child who is a great gift to our family. Edy attends the Lower School at Perkins School for the Blind. He loves to ride horses, swim, and spend time with his family and friends.

boy on a school bus
Ellen writes about adopting her visually impaired son, Edy, and how they focused on helping him acclimate to his new home and family while also thinking about how they would transition him into a new school environment.

Receive a Braille Letter from Santa

Santa reading his list

Your child with visual impairments can receive his/her own Braille letter from Santa this year. From now until Sunday, December 18, 2016, Braille Works will accept requests from parents and caregivers of children who are blind, to receive a letter from Santa. You can request a Braille letter from Santa by visiting the Santa Reads Braille webpage and submitting a form. The website has the text from the letter that will be sent out for you to review ahead of time. Don't delay! Get your request in right away to ensure your child gets it in the mail before Christmas!

Gene Therapy: What is it and how does it work?

With so much in the news these days about gene therapy, you may be wondering if there really is a treatment on the horizon to benefit inherited eye diseases. The good news is that YES there is!

It may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but researchers really are making exciting movement forward in developing treatments and gaining FDA approval. I spoke to three experts in the field to learn more about gene therapy, genetic testing and what we can expect for the future.


scientist in the lab

How to Host a Sensory Play Party for Visually Impaired Kids

Sensory Play and Multi-Sensory Activities are such buzzwords these days. Early educators and special needs moms alike know how important it is to engage a child's senses during play in order to encourage learning and development. But have you ever noticed that most sensory play activities are designed for one kid to play alone, usually while sitting nicely at a table?

How to Host a Sensory Play Party for Visually Impaired Kids
If your child has a sensory impairment like blindness should you still search out sensory play activities? Absolutely! Learn how to make sensory play accessible and host a sensory play party!

My child was just diagnosed with a retinal disorder, are there any treatments? Is there a cure?

Just like you, I've sat in the ophthalmologist's office hearing my worst fears confirmed: "Your baby is blind. There's nothing we can do. I'm so sorry." I walked out of that office stunned and not really able to process the information. Which words are worse, "Your baby is blind" or "There's nothing we can do"?

10 years ago when we had this experience that was probably true - there really wasn't much you could do to treat a retinal disease. These days, however, there are actual real options on the market that you can explore now... and even more on the horizon in the future.

retinal implant
Blindness due to a retinal disorder is no longer completely untreatable. There are devices that can restore or augment sight as well as some serious movement in the world of genetic therapy and stem cell research.

25 Braille Toys for Kids Who are Blind

The best way for any child to learn to read is through constant exposure to the written language... and through play! Sighted children play with alphabet blocks or simple word puzzles when they are young to help develop a foundation for literacy, and blind children have the same opportunities with toys in braille.

braille blocks, puzzles and buttons
Everything from alphabet blocks to raised line coloring pages and activity books to puzzles to card and board games... and so much more! And it's all in braille ready for your child to play and learn.

The Day I Realized That My Special Needs Child Deserves to Live an Enviable Life

What ever made me think that Shelby could not have an enviable life? Have you ever thought about your child having a life to be envied by others? I never did. I knew Shelby could have a happy and well-cared for life but I mistook these things for "an enviable life." I didn't even know I had this mis-belief until I started taking workshops for parents of special needs children where I met older and more experienced parents who are giving their kids enviable lives.

My child will live an enviable life

To My Loved Ones Who Want to Help Me Feel a Little Less Lonely

There are many blog posts written to special needs parents by other special needs parents for mutual encouragement, peer-to-peer support and reminding each other that we're not alone. I love them. I need their messages.

how to help a special needs mom feel less lonely

12 Easy Tips for Accessible Preschool Arts & Crafts for Kids who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Can a blind preschooler be included in preschool arts and crafts? Of course!

Preschool art projects usually involve simple fine motor skills (drawing or glueing), beginning planning skills (figuring our what to draw or where to glue) and constructive play (building something). Do these sound like skills any child should be learning, blind or sighted? Yes!

Accessible Preschool Arts & Crafts
Can a blind preschooler be included in preschool arts and crafts? Of course! With a little planning and forethought, preschool crafts can be completely accessible.

The Ultimate Toy Guide for Blind Children

We all want to find the best toys for our kids, but when your child is blind, where do you start? In this toy guide, you will learn how to find the best toys for your child's needs, including what to look for in off-the-shelf toys and how to adapt or make your own toys so they are perfect for your little one. We'll also look at how to create an adaptive play environment or sensory play space and how to use these toys to facilitate learning.

Below you will find:

The Ultimate Toy Guide for Blinds
In this toy guide, you will learn how to find the best toys for your child who is blind, including what to look for in off-the-shelf toys and how to adapt or make your own toys so they meet your child's needs.


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