As a parent of a child registered as “Partially Sighted” with a progressive condition affecting the retina, I’ve scoured high and low for every day products that could improve my daughters daily life. The products I’ve found most helpful aren’t actually aimed as those with low vision/ sight loss, BUT average items targeted for the “average child” that’ve made such a difference!
Here are my “5 Useful tools for your Visually Impaired Child.”
1. Disco Balls
CLICK HERE to Buy this Disco Ball for £29.99 at Maplin!
Like most young children, my daughter was afraid of the dark. Aside from leaving her main bedroom light on, I struggled to find an actual “night light” bright enough for her vision that’d give her the same comfort as standard night lights for sighted kids. Regular branded night lights just wouldn’t give off enough light. Then I saw this Disco Ball party light in Smyths Toy Store one day and just had to try it. The disco ball gave of just enough brightness, while circling the room in a warm hue. It wasn’t as manic and sleep distracting as I feared it would be. It became Abbigails first proper night light and we used it until it died a slow, pitiful death, one bulb at a time before we moved on to the…
As she grew, her fear of the dark lessened some which was great as by age 4 we’d gone through 3 Disco Balls. I saw this Star Wars: Death Star 3D night light on Amazon around Christmas while shopping for someone else. I wondered if it’d be any good for Abbie now she’d matured. She loved it from day one, not a Star Wars fan but affectionately calling it “my moon”. It gave off a calming yet bright glow on her bedside table. Enough to illuminate one corner of her room which was perfect.
We put them along the banister on the stairs, around mine and her wrists when entering the cinema/themed soft play areas and anywhere that had dim lighting. This helps her feel safe in that where she sees the glow sticks…she knew where to follow. Night blindness is a common symptom of RP and glow sticks are ten a penny.
At around age 3 I noticed Abbigail avoided using certain colour crayons. When asked why she didn’t use yellow for the sun she’d simply say, “Those crayons don’t work Mummy.” It dawned on me then that she couldn’t see yellows or nude/skin toned coloured upon standard white paper. So she’d just not use them. It was this revelation that made me seek advice from her Sensory Liason who was a real gem at problem solving. She came to visit her at nursery with scented pens! It was a total game changer…e.g if she wanted yellow for the sun, she’d simply smell for the one that smelled of lemons. Genius!
5. LARGE PRINT Mr Men Books from Poundland!
CLICK HERE to BUY Online on AMAZON anywhere from 1p – £2.50
Finding large print children’s classics can be very costly or just outright impossible. I realised over a year ago that Abbie couldn’t follow along with me in her favourite stories nor were we getting anywhere identifying “sight words” because standard text was still too small. When I saw LARGE PRINT Mr Men Books in Poundland a few months ago, I felt like we’d won the lottery! I stocked up on as many as I could afford. For just £1 you can’t go wrong. Now Abbigail can identify several sight words just from finding larger print books. So simple yet so hard to come across! (Sadly it looks like Poundland has discontinued the Large Print Mr Men Collection, but there are lots of choices on Amazon!)