Visual Disabilities Landing Pad

The American Foundation for the Blind estimates that 10 million people in the United States have a visual impairment, a term experts use to describe any kind of vision loss, whether it's someone who cannot see at all or someone who has partial vision loss. This landing pad highlights research and guidance (Why Do It?), articles (Read All About It), videos and DVDs (See for Yourself), and web resources (Find It Online) that can support professionals and family members in supporting young children with visual impairments. Featured resources are high-quality, readily available, and no-cost or low-cost. A special section (Virginia Guidance) features state-specific resources.

Why Do It?

Family-Centered Practices for Infants and Young Children with Visual Impairments

This position statement from the Division on Visual Impairments of the Council for Exceptional Children outlines basic principles that should be addressed in the implementation of early intervention and preschool services for infants and young children with visual impairments (birth to six years).

A Longitudinal Study of Developmental Patterns of Children who are Visually Impaired

The results of a 5-year study (1991-96) examining the sequence and rate of development of children ages birth to five years who are blind or visually impaired are summarized in this executive summary. Measures of visual acuity, behavior, temperament, and environment were obtained in an effort to identify differences in the development of children who are blind and visually impaired based on standardized assessment norms, while examining within group variation by visual disorders, additional disability, and other factors.

Visual Impairment in Young Children: A Review of the Literature with Implications for Working with Families of Diverse Cultural and Linguistic Backgrounds

This report identifies key issues in providing early childhood special education services to young children with visual impairments, and for working with families of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. First, it discusses the incidence of visual impairment and associated disabilities among young children, the process of early identification, and various definitions related to visual impairment. Second, it reviews relevant literature for the effects of visual impairment and associated disabilities on early development. Third, it outlines current intervention practices in relationship to the Division of Early Childhood Recommended Practices. Fourth, it presents implications for serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with visual impairments, those with associated disabilities, and their families.

See For Yourself

Early Intervention: Helping Babies with Visual Impairments

This is a powerful video that shows the lives and progress of young children with visual impairments who participate in the Lighthouse Early Intervention Program, funded by the Florida Department of Education, Division of Blind Services. You will hear first-hand accounts from parents and service providers, and see how much the children have advanced as a result of the program. 

First Steps: Infant/Toddler Program

In this video, family members of young children who are blind or have visual impairments share their experiences working with the Infant/Toddler Program staff at the Perkins School for the Blind.

Find It Online

Blind Babies Foundation

When an infant or preschooler is identified as blind or as having a visual impairment, the Blind Babies Foundation provides family-centered services to support the child's optimal development and access to the world.

Blind Children’s Research Center

The Center is dedicated to providing ideas, assistance, and information that will help children who are blind or have a visual impairment to reach their potential.

Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments

Downloadable resources from this national center include five multi-faceted modules with PowerPoint slides, articles, handouts, agendas, and other resources.

Lighthouse International

Among the useful features of this website is a searchable database with resources, including information for supporting infants and toddlers.

Maryland School for the Blind

If you are a preschool teacher, parent, childcare provider, or professional teaching a young child who has a visual impairment, this website is here to help. It includes strategies for teaching, ideas for home, demonstrations, and resources.

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

NAPVI is a non-profit organization of, by and for parents committed to providing support to the parents of children who have visual impairments.

Toy Ideas for Blind Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

This article offers toy ideas for family members and professionals who work with very young children who are blind or have visual impairments.

Read About It

Literacy in Early Intervention for Children with Visual Impairments: Insights from Individual Cases

A qualitative case study design was used to investigate the ways in which two early interventionists supported emergent literacy development for infants and toddlers with visual impairment. Three themes are addressed: (1) the importance of a family-centered approach in addressing emergent literacy in early intervention; (2) the role of the early interventionist in language and concept development; and (3) the need to focus on the senses as they relate to literacy. The findings provide practical insights into the role of the early interventionist in supporting early literacy development.

Virginia Guidance

2010 Guidelines for Working with Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired in Virginia Public Schools

This 42-page booklet from the Virginia Department of Education provides information about evaluation, eligibility, and services for children with visual impairments that are available through the public school system. This information may assist families as their children transition to early childhood special education (preschool) services after leaving the early intervention system.

Lions Club of Virginia

Local Lions Clubs may be available to assist families with obtaining glasses for their children. Visit the website for information about local chapters.

National Federation of the Blind Virginia (NFB)

The NFB improves the lives of people who are blind through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs that encourage independence and self-confidence. Visit the website for more information about Virginia’s chapter.

Parent-Infant Education Program, Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind

The Parent-Infant Education Program provides information, support, and services to families with children ages birth to three years old who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, blind or low vision, or deaf-blind. This program aims to connect parents of young children with sensory impairments to an early intervention provider who is knowledgeable in the range of needs, challenges and pathways to success that exist in relation to deafness and/or blindness. Parent-Infant Education Program staff members will coordinate services with the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia.

The Virginia Association of the Blind

The Association provides a variety of resources including education services for children who are blind, financial assistance for eye care, therapeutic recreation programs, information about guide dogs, and more.

Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)

Infants and children with visual disabilities, their families and teachers can receive technical assistance and support through the DBVI that will help them during the child's developmental and educational process. Staff members provide technical assistance for evaluation, program planning, curriculum modification, transition programs, information about blindness, and adaptive equipment.

Virginia Library and Resource Center (LRC)

The LRC is a component of the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) from which two fundamental programs are administered. Library services are offered to people who have physical, visual, or reading disabilities as well as those who have hearing impairments. Resource Center services are provided to local school divisions to support the education of children who are blind or have visual impairments.

Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center

Virginia Commonwealth University
Partnership for People with Disabilities

Integrated Training Collaborative
Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia
Partnership for People with Disabilities

This professional development activity is supported by the Integrated Training Collaborative (ITC), with funding support from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS), American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Copyright © 2012