University of Edinburgh

Working with Parents (VI)

Presented on Wednesday 26 April 2006

Working with Parents: The Early Years

Janis Sugden
SSC/University of Edinburgh.


  • Childhood should be FUN for children and their parents.
  • Visual Impairment should be no barrier to fun.

Effect on the parents.

"The Earlier diagnosis of vision impairment is made the shorter is the time when parents enjoy the birth of their perfect baby and can fall in love with him or her."
Lea Hyvärinen

The way the diagnosis is told.
Parents are the most important members of the early intervention team.

Involvement of early intervention team

  • Delay
  • Support
  • Assessment

Professional Attributes

  • Attitudes
  • Knowledge and Understanding of child development
  • Knowledge and understanding of eye conditions
  • Skill in informal and formal assessment
  • Ability to be a team worker

"Special educators are sometimes frustrated by what they interpret to be resistance or apathy from family members with cultural perspectives that differ from their own. In fact, both educators and family members are faced with problematic and complex issues when they attempt to work together in the development and planning of meaningful educational programmes"(Dennis & Giangreco,1996).

Culturally Sensitive Interviews

  • Appreciate the uniqueness in each family.
  • Be aware of the assessor’s influence as a professional.
  • Acknowledge each assessor’s cultural biases.
  • Seek new understanding and knowledge of cultures
  • Learn with families.

Consider other family members

  • Involvement of siblings
  • Grandparents
  • DADS

Age and cause of VI; onset of VI is a significant factor

  • Congenitally blind babies
  • Children who become blind or visually impaired later


  • Who can refer?
  • Recent Legislation
  • Providing vision services to babies and pre-school services.


  • Home and other visits.
  • Record keeping
  • Assessments

Job Satisfaction

  • Wonderful personal opportunities
  • Challenging!
  • Interesting


Calvello, G (1990) The art of home visiting. In D Chen,C, T Friedman, & G Calvello (eds) Parents and Visually Impaired Infants. Louisville, KY:PAVII Project and American Printing House for the Blind.

Oregon Project for Visually Impaired and Blind Preschool Children

Olmstead, Jean E Itinerant Teaching Tricks of the Trade for Teachers of students with Visual Impairment 2005 (2nd edition)

Barclay, Lizbeth A Preparation for Assessment in Goodman S A & Wittenstein S H (editors) Collaborative Assessment (AFB 2003)

Low Vision in Early Intervention An Interdisciplinary Approach Comenius Project European Union