Blind Parents

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Allison Hilliker sits in a rocking chair with her 18 month old daughter. Allison is reading a book and her daughter has a charming smile.What does it mean to be a blind parent?

Living the life you want often means becoming a parent who happens to be blind. It also might mean becoming an active grandparent, or someone else who cares for children on a regular basis. Although some may question the abilities of blind parents, we know that blind parents are fully capable and have been successfully raising children for generations.

There are certainly aspects of parenting as a blind person which take some thought, and certain alternative techniques blind parents use in order to keep their children safe, healthy, and happy. We hope to share resources that will support and inspire you along this journey.

The National Federation of the Blind strives to build a strong network for blind parents, grandparents, guardians, and care givers. This is a place where questions can be answered, experiences can be shared, and alternative techniques can be learned. Whether you are just thinking about becoming a parent, an expecting parent, a parent, guardian, grandparent, or someone who cares for children on a regular basis, we hope you will find this site to be a valuable companion.

National Federation of the Blind's tagline - Live the Life you want.

Videos

Dad spins his two children on the merry-go-round at the playground.Living Life as a Blind Parent

Mark Riccobono, a blind parent and the President of the National Federation of the Blind, talks about living life as a blind parent while playing with his children at a neighborhood park.

The Right to Raise a Family 

After a blind couple in Missouri had their newborn baby girl taken from them at the hospital because a social worker did not believe that blind people could be capable parents, the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri swung into action and was able to secure the return of the baby. Realizing that there needed to be outreach to all state social workers, the affiliate prepared a video to educate these officials on how blind people successfully raise children. One more way that we help blind people to live the lives they want is by fighting to ensure that the right of blind people to raise families is protected.

Audio

Parents who are blind can be involved in their children's education! Here are two interviews which highlight how one parent and two classroom teachers worked together to share school information and foster parent involvement.

The Nation's Blind Podcast, bonus episode 3 - Melissa Riccobono interviews Laura Koler.

The Nation's Blind Podcast, bonus episode 4 - Melissa Riccobono interviews Serena Harris.

Blind Parents Group 

A group of people, several using canes, out for a stroll. A mother with a cane pushes a stroller while her blind child walks beside.To learn more about how blind parents successfully handle a variety of issues, contact the NFB's Blind Parents Group. This group meets annually at the NFB national convention. It also operates a listserv called Blind Parents, where you can ask questions, learn from, and share experiences with blind parents like you. This list is one of the most valuable resources for blind parents; be sure to join today!

Visit the Divisions, Groups, and Committees page for up-to-date contact information for the Blind Parents group. You can also email [email protected] with questions or concerns.

Resources for Blind Parents

Below are helpful articles and blog posts written by blind parents. There is also a brochure for attorneys, social workers, and other professionals which highlight techniques blind parents use to care for their children. Visit the parenting webpage of the Voice of the Nation's Blind blog for current articles. 

The Advantages of Being a Blind Parent by Melissa Riccobono (Voice of the Nations Blind)

Baby-Sitting by Barbara Walker Loos (Making Hay)

Independence: To Have and To Hold by Christine Boone (Braille Monitor)

It Takes More Than Love by Kevan Worley (Future Reflections)

To Be a Parent by Gary Wunder (Braille Monitor)

Materials for Blind Parents - a collection of articles about being a blind parent from the Braille Monitor.

Parenting Without Sight Brochure: What Attorneys, Social Workers and Caregivers Should Know About Blindness
This publication provides introductory and commonsense advice and information to those potentially involved in assessing the competence of blind parents to care for their offspring or other children in their charge. The pamphlet supports the view that blind parents are, with proper training and opportunity, equal to this responsibility. Detailed in this booklet are statements of blindness philosophy and practical examples of ways parenting as a blind person can be managed successfully.

If you would like to order any of these items, please contact the Independence Market for availability. You may contact them by email at [email protected] or by phone at (410) 659-9314, extension 2216. For additional information, please refer to our Independence Market Literature Order Procedure.

Imagineering Our Future Newsletter - Sign up here to receive our monthly NFB email newsletter which provides information on a wide range of topics that are also of interest to blind parents.

Future Reflections - This quarterly magazine offers parents of blind children and teachers of blind children a multitude of resources and information based on the positive NFB philosophy. 

Blogs

The following blogs are written by moms who happen to be blind. The National Federation of the Blind is not responsible for the content in these blogs, but they are resources you may find helpful.

Making it on the Playground a blog by Mary Jo Hartle

Blind Motherhood a blog by Holly Bonner

Blind Mom in the Burbs a blog by Terri Rupp

Parenting Network

Blind Parents Needed for our Parenting Network

Darrell Shandrow poses with his child in a front carrier.Are you a blind parent, grandparent, foster parent, or caregiver for children? Would you be interested in passing along your knowledge and giving your support to a parent, grandparent, or another caregiver who also happens to be blind? If so, the National Federation of the Blind needs you! If you are willing to serve as a mentor to an expecting parent, a current parent who is seeking support, a grandparent, or someone else who plans to provide extended care for children, please send an email to Melissa Riccobono at [email protected].

If you are an individual who would be interested in being matched with a mentor, please send an email to [email protected]. This program is in its beginning stages, but we will do all we can to match you with a mentor as soon as possible.

The National Federation of the Blind logo and tagline live the life you wantThe National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.