Future Reflections Summer 1990, Vol. 9 No. 2

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by Janiece Betker

-Review by Doris M. Willoughby

I begin this review with a comment on why sighted parents and teachers of blind children -- even very young children--should be interested in this book. If the parent or teacher has read this book, and has met competent blind parents, he/she can maintain normal expectations for the child's future as a blind adult. If the child hears suggestions gleaned from the book, and (even at quite a young age) reads the book, then the youngster will look forward to normal adulthood. Without this book or its equivalent, many subtle and not-so-subtle remarks and actions will imply that normal parenthood is unlikely.

The introduction explains, "The information presented to the general public is exactly what blind parents need to know. Still, there are certain techniques, bits of advice, and a few pieces of equipment that can be useful to a blind parent."

There are good ideas for educating health professionals, relatives, babysitters, and others. Explaining blindness to the child is also discussed. It is very important for the blind parent to maintain his/her personal independence, and with it his/her authority as the parent. Mrs. Betker cautions against letting this weaken --as by leaving the cane or dog at home and being guided only by the child; relying solely on an older child to do all the reading for the family; or letting salespersons talk to the child instead of to the parent.

Valuable tips are given for all aspects of a young child's life. Ways to ensure that the sighted child is helped to learn visual concepts are discussed, as is the issue of "eye contact."

As with Lifeskills, the style of this book is readable and interesting.

Both of the above books are available in regular inkprint and on cassette. A third book, Parent Tips: The Challenge Years (about parenting school-age children) is presently only on cassette, but will be published in inkprint if the demand so indicates. This reviewer has not had the opportunity to read Parent Tips: The Challenge Years. However, judging by the other two books, I assume that it too is excellent; I hope that it will indeed soon be available in print.

Lifeskills: A Can-Do Program for Living with Blindness- Inkprint: $19.95 plus $3.00 for shipping. Cassette: $19.95. Price includes future supplements.

Parent Tips: A Guide for Blind and Visually-Impaired Parents -Inkprint: $9.95 plus $2.00 for shipping. Cassette: $9.95.

Parent Tips: The Challenge Years -- Cassette: $12.95.

Janiece Betker
1886 29th Avenue, Northwest
New Brighton, Minnesota 55112
Phone: (612)639-1435

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