A big vision for your child

Welcoming a baby or experiencing a young child growing is an exciting, life changing time for any family.

If your child is blind or has low vision, you may worry about:

  • how to bring up your child.
  • how they will learn everyday self- help skills with a vision or vision and hearing loss.
  • how a vision (and hearing) loss can impact on their ability to participate in life.
  • how your child can prepare for a life as an adult.

The Blind Foundation can help.

Our experienced and skilled specialists can give you and your child, the support, skills and strategies to help your child make their way confidently in the world.  By the time your child leaves school, they will have all the self-help skills they need to succeed as a young adult.

The Blind Foundation Child and Youth service is available for people from birth to 21 years who are blind, have low vision, are deafblind and who may also have additional disabilities.  Once your child leaves school, they will be offered the Blind Foundation’s adult services including guide dogs.

To register a child or young person for Blind Foundation support, please complete this form.

To refer a child or young person to the Blind Foundation, please complete this form.

To find out more, please email the Blind Foundation Children and Youth team at children@blindfoundation.org.nz or call us on 0800 24 33 33.

A team to help you and your child

The Blind Foundation’s nationwide team of experts include dedicated Child and Family Social Workers (CFSW) and Independent Life Skills Specialists (ILS).

Child and Family Social Workers

The CFSW will assist you and your family in a whole range of ways.  They’re the first person you’ll meet and will introduce you to Blind Foundation Services. They offer emotional support, guidance, and counselling.

Your social worker can introduce you to other families with children who are blind or have low vision. And they’ll help your child get involved with local activities.

Our team’s well connected and works with a range of agencies including Blind Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ), doctors and ophthalmologists. They’ll help you access the range of support and advice available with other agencies.

Blind Foundation CFSWs adhere to a professional code of ethics.

Independent Life Skills Specialists

With the help of a Blind Foundation (ILS) specialist your child can learn all the everyday tasks they need to make their way in the world. Your child will come to see they are a ‘can do person’.

To start, we give your pre-schooler the confidence and skills to move and explore safely. Movement really matters, and this journey starts from birth. The Blind Foundation ILS can teach your child everything from reaching for their bottle as a baby to crossing the roads once they’re older.

We then help teach them everyday tasks like getting dressed in the morning and having a shower.  They’ll learn how to make snacks or meals and do chores (a plus for any parent!).

As your child grows in independence, our team will teach them skills like doing  grocery shopping, using phones and mastering computers. They will also learn the art of making friends.

The ILS team works where it best suits your child. This might be home, a childcare centre, school and in the community.

Community and Recreation Advisors

With all of those skills in hand, what better way to increase confidence levels and meet new friends than heading to a Blind Foundation camp.  Whether your child wants to try canoeing, skiing or give Theatresports a go, the summer and winter camps are the ticket.

The fun doesn’t stop at camps thought. The Blind Foundation’s Community and Recreation Advisors have a whole range of activities to try. To find out more about activities in your area, contact your local Community and Recreation Advisor. Call 0800 24 33 33 to find out the contact details for the advisor for your area.

Our partnership with you

Having a child who is blind or has low vision affects the whole family, so the Blind Foundation takes a family-centred approach.  We believe children’s first and best teachers are their parents.  This is why we work alongside you and your whanau to help achieve the goals you and your child have set.

We call this positive approach the Parent and Child Enrichment Programme (PACE).  The approach is delivered from a strength based perspective. This means we believe in your child, their ability to learn and grow, and their right to thrive.

Part of PACE is a self-help programme called the Record of Learning (ROL). It allows parents and students to self-assess what skills they currently have and what new ones they want to learn.

If you already have a large team involved, other team members can feed into it. It is all about working together to achieve your priorities.

You can download a copy of the PACE brochure in PACE English (.pdf) or PACE Te Reo (.pdf)

Support from other agencies

Through PACE you’ll also work closely with other service providers. This is about working together in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for the child and family.

Parents of Vision Impaired NZ Inc (PVI) is a non-profit organisation of parents committed to providing support to the parents of children who are blind, deafblind or have low vision.

The Blind and Low Vision Education Network NZ (BLENNZ) is a school that is made up of a national network of educational services for children and young people who are Blind, DeafBlind or have low vision in New Zealand.

Kāpō Māori Aotearoa

This resource for families of young people who are blind or have low vision was developed by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with BLENNZ, the Ministry of Health and the Blind Foundation. The book also received input from other blindness-related organisations including Parents of Vision Impaired (PVI), Ngāti Kāpo and DeafBlind NZ Inc.

It provides families and whānau with important information about services and support they can expect from government and health and disability organisations. It also shares the insights and experiences of six families.

Download a copy in your preferred format:

The Vision Book large print (.pdf)

The Vision Book large print (.doc)

Or you can request a hard copy from the Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (BLENNZ) on 09 266 7109.

Education.govt.nz is a new Ministry of Education Portal which hosts news about The Vision Book as well as other practical information about education for parents and carers.