Helping Your Child Who Is Visually Impaired Meet Others by Joining Community Activities
One way to expand your child’s social life and help her meet other children is to involve her in group activities. You may want to sign her up for classes or activities in your neighborhood. For example, you might check out the local community center or “Y” (YMCA) to see if they have programs for preschoolers that your child might enjoy.
Begin by thinking about your child’s interests. If she likes to jump, tumble, and dance, a gym class might be fun for her. If she’s more interested in making things with her hands, an art or arts and crafts class might be appealing to her.
Whichever type of program you and your child choose, it’s a good idea to ask the instructor what the group will be doing in the first one or two sessions. Then, if possible, let your child practice the activity at home so that she’ll have some idea of what to expect. You may need to show her how to do the activity using hand-under-hand or hand-over-hand techniques.
Let the instructor know about any special needs your child has—”If you describe what you want the class to do and let her get close when you demonstrate, she’ll be able to follow your lead.” And be positive about her strengths, “She can do somersaults and, with some help, can do a headstand already.”
If it’s allowed, go to the first couple of sessions to see how your child is doing. If she’s holding her own and enjoying it, you don’t have to hang around. If she gets into a challenging situation, give her time to see if she’ll ask for help or solve the problem on her own. The instructor might also see that she needs help and provide it, rather than you having to do so.
The first activity your daughter chooses may not be a “good fit” for any number of reasons, including the size of the group, the instructor’s skills, or your child’s skills. Give her some time to decide whether she wants to continue with it or try a different activity—if she chooses to give it up, then look for another opportunity to involve her in the community.