Future Reflections                                                                                                 Special Issue 2004

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Introduction

After the Crying, Then What?

Barbara Cheadle, Editor, Future Reflections, and President,
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children

Barbara Cheadle
Barbara Cheadle

Your child is blind. Well, maybe not blind, blind—as in totally blind—but the vision loss is significant and the doctors can’t fix it. At least, not right away. Maybe someday—you’re not ready to give up hope yet—but it’s definitely not going to happen today, or tomorrow, or next year, or even five years from now. One thing is for sure: it’s time to stop crying and do something. But where do you go? What do you do? You know you need answers, but you’re not even sure what questions to ask.

This special issue is for you. It makes sense to go to experts when you have a problem. And who is more “expert” on blindness than those that live it everyday—the blind themselves—and parents of blind and visually impaired children. For over twenty years—through this publication and the many activities of its division for parents, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC)—the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has offered hope, inspiration, and the most reliable, practical information available.

In the NFB, we believe that blindness does not need to be a tragedy. With the proper attitudes, education, blindness skills, and opportunities, a blind child can grow up to expect all the same things his or her sighted peers expect: a job, a family, friends, and a place in the community. We also believe that there is no great mystery about blindness or the non-visual techniques used by the blind to get along in the world. In other words, typical parents—this means YOU—are fully capable of raising blind children to become competent, well-adjusted adults.

The articles in this special issue demonstrate this philosophy as applied to real-life situations and real children—including those with additional disabilities and those with partial sight. As the title suggests, the focus is on the critical early years in a child’s life: birth to eight. Written by a mix of parents, blind adults, and professionals, the articles are classics from the pages of Future Reflections that have been reviewed and updated for currency. The articles are organized by topics (chapters) so that you may pick and choose what is most relevant or interesting to you at the moment.

But there is a reason the first chapter is first. The NFB can do more than help you with tips and techniques; we can help you catch a vision of a future full of hope and opportunity for your child. So, we invite you to turn to page three and “Reach for the Stars” as you begin your journey toward becoming the best parent and advocate you can be for your child.

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