The Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program provides services to children who are blind or have low vision and their families in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. It is designed to give children who are born blind or with low vision the best possible start in life.
The program provides education and support for parents so they can encourage the healthy development of their children. Parents learn to help their children develop the skills they need for daily activities at home and in early learning and care settings.
A child who is blind or has low vision is at significant risk for difficulties in all areas of development, including:
- Communication and language
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Understanding and thought processes
- Social skills
- Emotional development
When children are diagnosed with blindness or low vision, a referral can be made to the local Blind – Low Vision Early Intervention Program by a physician, ophthalmologist, optometrist, parent or caregiver.
Please call 519-252-0636 to make your referral.
The program provides support to parents when their child has been diagnosed with blindness or low vision. These services are provided by family support workers who are specially trained in the impact of a visual impairment on child development.
The family support worker will help the family understand and cope with the implications of the diagnosis and help them make informed decisions about support services.
When your child enters a child care or early learning centre, Blind-Low Early Intervention Program staff will help the early childhood educators at the centre learn how to be work with and teach your child.
For a child with visual impairment, touch, hearing, and the use of remaining residual vision are critically important for learning and development. Support by trained and knowledgeable professionals in the area of visual impairment is essential to help the child develop these senses to the best of their ability. Intervention Services are provided by specially trained early childhood blind/low vision consultants in the family’s home. The consultant teaches parents how to support their child’s development in the following areas:
- Intentional movement (orientation and mobility)
- Development of motor skills (e.g. rolling, crawling, walking, and use of hands to manipulate and explore objects)
- Daily living skills (e.g. eating, dressing, toileting)
- Concept development (e.g. object identification, function, and characteristics)
- Social and emotional development
- How to make the most of residual vision
- How to use all the senses to promote development