Disabilities, like visual impairment, come with their unique set of challenges. Some of these challenges have a more debilitating effect on children affected with those particular disabilities. Even when the disability remains with the person for their entire life, the effect of disability does not remain the same. The person learns to deal with some challenges with growing age and experience. Some challenges cease to impact the person when she becomes more matured with age. But, it is necessary to talk about the unique challenges faced by children with disabilities because they impact these children more than we can imagine. Some of the experiences may leave an impact of a lifetime on the child.
This article about challenges faced by visually Impaired children is an effort from our side to start the discussion and make people aware of the issue. It is more important because most children with disabilities cannot speak up for themselves or even when they try there’s no one to give an ear to.
1. People Asking Stupid and Hurtful Questions
Perhaps the biggest societal challenge for a person with a disability is annoying people asking stupid and hurtful questions. Visually impaired persons have to deal with many questions regarding their disability. Such questions might be asked just out of curiosity and not to hurt the person. But, children must be spared no matter how curious you feel.
We need to understand that children with visual impairment themselves have too many questions to ponder upon when they realize they are different from the people around them. It is cruel to ask them stupid questions like do you see black & white or colorful dreams? Or can you recognize anybody with just their voice? Seriously, the list of stupid questions is very long. Please do not ask any of them. Just see them as a ‘child’ and not ‘visually impaired’… this way you’ll know what to say and what not to say.
Now, here comes a little tricky situation. Some people may not ask the question themselves but would never stop their children to do so. It’s true children are curious and can come up with hundreds of questions for any given thing or situation. This is their way of learning different things. BUT, childhood is also the time to learn social skills like manners and to behave. You need to teach your child to respect differences and not to bother someone with questions that may hurt the other person.
2. Bullying by Other Children
Children with visual impairment often face bullying by other children. This may seem an issue that involves only children but it is not. Children who bully others for their disability are those who are not taught to respect differences. It is the duty of grown-ups, like parents and teachers, to make children understand that everyone is different and it is these differences that make the world a more beautiful place. Children should be made aware of disabilities and persons with disabilities at a very young age. They should be taught that a disability only makes a person different neither inferior nor superior.
3. People Showing Concerns about Disability
Random people showing concern about the child’s disability and their future, either directly to the child or to their parents, is patently irritating. Moreover, this behavior can break the confidence of the child. No one should ever say things like “Oh poor child! She cannot see… she will have always to depend on you (the parent)”. But, unfortunately, random people do say such things to parents of children with visual impairment. And, mostly these things are said in the presence of the child!
Trust us, children with visual impairment (or other disabilities) and their parents can do well without other people’s negativity disguised as concern.
Some people, in order to show their concern, keep on suggesting random things to cure the child. “Just give her fresh carrots maybe she will gain some eyesight” or “I’ve read somewhere about xyz quack who can treat such cases in 1-week, why don’t you give a try”. Please stop. Unless you are a specialist of the condition or you have any firsthand experience you should not give random suggestions.
4. Over Protective Behavior of Parents
This issue is often overlooked as it relates to the parents. But it is among the most common challenges faced by children with visual impairment. Parents are rightly concerned for their child and they want to keep them safe. But, over-protectiveness has more than one drawback. This does not let the child be confident in handling their life situation themselves. They will always seek help from their parents if they are not allowed to take care of their small needs from the very beginning. Some children, including children with visual impairment, are born with the desire to do things on their own. And, over-protective behavior of parents frustrates children with an inherent desire to be self-sufficient. Even though it feels risky, children with visual impairment need to be given their space. Let them try, fail and try again! These children are much more capable than assumed by their parents or the society.
Difficult Emotional Moments
Children with visual impairment know and feel that they are different from most of the people around them. And, in most cases, they have to deal with people who never fail to make them feel inferior because of their lack of sight. These situations trigger difficult emotional moments. And, generally, these children do not confide even with their parents. Sometimes they may also feel guilty for being a trouble or burden to their parents.
The majority of times these emotions are triggered by external factors like people’s behavior. All the above-mentioned points may lead to this situation. And, this can have a lifelong impact on the personality of the child with visual impairment.
Being a part of society we all need to understand these challenges faced by children with visual impairment. And, try our best to save children with a visual impairment from these added burdens of societal challenges. We have tried to give a broad picture in this article. If you think we have missed anything feels free to comment below. We will update the article and spread the word.
WeCapable would like to thank Mrs. Anju Sharma for providing some inputs for this article. Mrs. Sharma is the proud mother of Kritika Sharma, her young and bright daughter who is affected with low vision.
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"Problems Faced by Children with Visual Impairment." (n.d.). Wecapable.com. Retrieved January 29, 2022 from https://wecapable.com/children-visual-impairment-problems-challenges/