Since beginning Blind Motherhood, I have connected with many blind and visually impaired parents across the world. Each of us is looking for the same thing – a relationship with another person who understands the unique circumstances of parenting while visually impaired. The National Federation for the Blind is moving forward with it’s Blind Parent Mentoring Program. Melissa Riccobono, who helps coordinate this effort for the NFB, recently released an update on the program which includes a new enrollment mentoring form. The following article has been taken directly from the NFB’s “Voice of A Nation’s Blind Blog.”
Melissa Riccobono’s Message:
All parents have questions and worries about their children, no matter how old their children get. Is she eating enough? Will these tantrums ever stop? Is he doing well enough in school? Will she ever be out of diapers? Is he really ready to have his own cell phone? Will everyone be safe on the road now that she’s driving?
Parents who are blind sometimes have additional questions—especially when they are expecting their first child or while their children are infants. How will I measure formula and medications? How will I be sure my baby is clean? Is there an easy way to keep matching outfits and socks together? What are the best car seats, strollers, or baby carriers to use? How will I keep track of my baby when he becomes mobile?
As a parent who happens to be blind, I enjoy talking to other parents and helping them find answers to their questions. I certainly do not know everything, and I certainly do not believe the ways my husband and I choose to do things are the best or only ways they can be done. However I do know I have parenting experience, and I am always happy to pass along my knowledge, support, and advice to others.
Parent Mentors & A Sister:
I was very lucky to have had parent mentors when my first child was born. My sister, who is also blind, was always willing to share techniques with me and my husband. Members of the Greater Baltimore Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland were also ready to help. Parents on the NFB blind parent email list always patiently answered my questions.
Revitalization For Mentoring Program:
The National Federation of the Blind is excited to revitalize our Blind Parent Mentoring Program. Whether you are looking for a parent mentor or willing to mentor a parent, we’d love for you to fill out our short parent mentoring form. Blind parents, expecting parents, foster parents, grandparents, and those interested in fostering or adopting children are welcome and encouraged to sign up.
Once you’ve filled out the form, someone from the National Federation of the Blind Blind Parent Initiative will contact you so that we can match you with a mentor or mentee as quickly as possible. Even if you have signed up to be a mentor in the past, we would appreciate it if you would fill out the form.
NFB Blind Parents Group & Social Media:
To learn more about how blind parents successfully handle a variety of issues, you can 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 the blind parenting community. This list is a valuable resource for all blind parents; Blind Motherhood strongly recommends everyone join. Visit the NFB’s Divisions, Groups, and Committees page for up-to-date contact information for the Blind Parents group.
You should also consider joining the “Blind Parent Alliance” and “Blind Parents of Blind or Low Vision Children” on Facebook. These online groups provide parents with a safe place to ask questions, vent frustrations and learn about upcoming events within the blind/visually impaired community.
Blind Motherhood Is Always Here:
Should you find yourself in need of support, please reach out to me via email. You can also email [email protected] with questions or concerns.
If you or your organization has materials related to blind parenting you would like to see shared on Blind Motherhood, send me an email – [email protected]