Section 1 - You Know Your Child Best!
Throughout any child’s educational lifetime, he will have to go through a variety of transitional experiences which, for many, may prove to be an emotional rollercoaster ride. Whether he is moving into Nursery; from Nursery to Primary; Primary to Secondary; or into Further/Higher education or employment the young person will encounter several schools, countless new faces, school work that gets harder, and will have to deal with an ever-changing world which increasingly demands more from him.
For children with a visual impairment this process can be even more overwhelming. The young person involved not only has to go through the same changes as his sighted peers, but also has to overcome the numerous additional challenges caused by limited vision.
Consequently, the need for parental involvement in the various planning stages is crucial if transition from one stage to another is to be successful for the young person involved.
Throughout the process of transition it is essential that you work with many professionals who will be actively involved in your child’s learning: Teachers, Psychologists, Health workers, Careers Advisers, Mobility specialists, etc. All will rely on you as a parent/carer to provide them with a detailed picture of your child’s visual ability. It is extremely important that as part of future preparations, your knowledge and awareness of your child’s specific needs are taken into consideration.
Similarly, the professionals can advise you as to what services are available, and how best to meet your child’s additional support needs. There may be moments of frustration when those who are less emotionally attached are making decisions which you may not agree with. At this point, it is very important that you take charge of the situation; but in a way that is open-minded and as fair as possible. Have a clear idea about the type of school you want for your child, but be willing to explore alternatives. Don’t choose a school/college for your child before looking at all the options. Also, if possible include your child in this delicate decision-making process. A handy tip is to visit a few schools and make a Pros and Cons list.
Your relationship with the professionals should always be cooperative. Keep them informed of your situation and requirements, so that together you can agree, plan and organise the level of support that is necessary for your child’s future success.