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 society often questions the abilities of blind parents, there is no evidence that children raised by parents who are blind are at any greater risk of harm than children raised by parents who are sighted.
Blind people have been successfully raising children for years. Yet, 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. For the first time, resources for blind parents are being gathered in one place.
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 a valuable companion to you on your parenting journey.
Below are many helpful articles 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.
The Advantages of Being a Blind Parent is a recent blog post from Voice of the Nations Blind
by Barbara Walker Loos (Making Hay, 1993)
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- Independence: To Have and To Hold
by Christine Boone (Braille Monitor, February 1992)
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- It Takes More Than Love
by Kevan Worley (Future Reflections, Spring/Summer 1993)
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- Materials for Blind Parents
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- Parenting Without Sight: What Attorneys and Social Workers 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 promotes the simple view that blind parents are, with proper training and opportunity, equal to this responsibility. Detailed in this pamphlet are statements of blindness philosophy and practical examples of ways parenting as a blind person can be managed successfully.
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- To Be a Parent
by Gary Wunder (Braille Monitor, January 1986) Order Information: Item LBT06; Braille/Print; No Charge
If you would like to order any of these items, please contact the Independence Market for availability. You may contact them by email at IndependenceMarket@nfb.org or by phone at 410-659-9314, extension 2216. For additional information, please refer to our Independence Market Literature Order Procedure.
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.
Blind Parents Needed
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 other caregiver who also happen 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@example.com.
As you know, the National Federation of the Blind is the leading advocate for the rights of blind parents and the largest resource network for blind people who are considering being parents. We are continuing to build our resources in this area, and the next step is to formalize a program of mentoring. Mentors will follow up with individuals they are assigned to mentor, and will be asked for ideas about other resources needed to strengthen the network of education, support, and advocacy the National Federation of the Blind provides to blind parents, grandparents, and other caregivers.
If you are an individual who would be interested in being matched with a mentor, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This program is in its beginning stages, but we will do all we can to match you with a mentor as soon as possible.
Finally, please watch for future announcements regarding our Blind Parents Initiative. The National Federation of the Blind wants to gather data and develop truly useful resources for parents who happen to be blind, but in order to do this we will need your help and feedback. We will have at least one survey we will need people to complete, and there may also be opportunities to participate in focus groups, share techniques in short videos, write reviews for particularly helpful or accessible children's products and toys, and much more. We look forward to hearing from you, and having you help us build a variety of tools to empower blind parents as they live the lives they want with their children.
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!
The 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.