Supporting the brothers and sisters of your child with a vision impairment
When you’re caring for a child with a vision impairment you may find that much of your time is taken up by their needs. That’s only natural – but it’s important that any brothers and sisters can express their feelings, ask questions, and have an equal share in your time wherever possible.
That may sound easier said than done, but making small changes can help siblings feel involved in what is going on. It can also reassure them that you love and care for them too.
Here are some tips you might find useful:
- Spend time with each child individually, such as helping with homework, speaking about their day or going for a walk
- Make sure siblings can still carry on with usual extra-curricular activities, seeing friends and any hobbies or interests they may have
- Organise trips out or activities that you can do together as a family
- Talk openly with siblings about the situation
- Encourage play between all your children, being careful to not be forceful with the situation
Rest assured, it is common for brothers and sisters of a child with a vision impairment to feel different emotions at different stages. They may feel upset, confused, guilty, or embarrassed. When this happens it’s important to help them to express and deal with their feelings, but also consider they may like some space for a while. If you are having difficulties, it might also be a good idea to let your child’s school know so they aware of why any mood swings may be happening.
Wherever possible, also try to make sure that all your children feel able and happy to talk to you about all issues. It’s also important to not keep secrets. For example, If your child with a vision impairment experiences a change in their condition, their siblings might have questions about the effect this will have on them too.
Equally, if your child’s siblings need to have tests because the condition may be genetic, explain to everyone what is what is happening and why. This will help to stop the process becoming frightening or mysterious. It will also help to develop trust and open communication between you and the rest of your family.
For advice on how to address your children’s concerns, please see our information sheet "Answering your Child's Questions about their Vision Impairment" or speak with one of our Specialist Family Support Officers.
Further specialist support is also available from Contact, Sibs and YoungSibs – all fantastic charities for families with disabled children.
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- Eye conditions explained
- Early diagnosis
- Common misconceptions about vision impairment
- Tips on completing Disability Living Allowance and Carer’s Allowance Forms
- Professionals supporting your family
- Tips for parents on accessing social services
- Jargon buster
- Answering your child's questions about sight loss
- Supporting brothers and sisters
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