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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

Ok. I have just gotten Power of Attorney for a little boy that's 8 and he's blind. He was in the same class as my little girl that's 10 with Spina Bifida. If I hadn't of taken him in he would've gone to some state hospital and I just didn't have the heart to let him sit in some room for the rest of his life if me and my husband could help.

Here's the problem. I need help on trying to understand him. I mean, he's a sweet boy with a great sense of humor, but it's a battle of wills all the time almost. He was raised by his great grandmother and great grandfather that let him do and have whatever he wanted. (Ex.tearing curtains off the walls, screaming whenever he didn't get his way, etc) He's not potty trained, and his great grandmother pureed EVERYTHING he ate. I fixed him mac and cheese the 1st night we had him and I noticed that he swallowed it whole.

Does anyone have any ideas on what I can do to help him? I have no background history until I take him to the doctor and hear for myself because his poor great grandmother talks in circles....which I think may be 1 of the reasons he acts the way he does....he's on Dilantin, TopaMax and then something for "his stomach" for reflux or something.

I know this isn't much help but that's all I know about him so far. After Christmas I plan on taking him to the doctor that I want not the kind that will write a script for just anything.....

Hope to hear from someone soon!!

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Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

putting your foot down might be a way but I don't agree with it. I think letting him know what the norms and expectations are might be a better method as in "(name) I expect that you don't scream because of x and y e.g. because you're eight and a big boy and big boys don't scream. then reward every good behaviors such as giving him what he wants as a reward for good work, a piece of chocolate, a new toy, teaching him more about what he likes to know, playing a game with him, and so forth. be firm about why he shouldn't do it and be thorough with your explainations. Also, tell him about how his action is wrong and what you expect of him when he screams or yells or any other bad behavior. Teach him to express himself differently, maybe by venting for now? encourage him on and show him what there is to life, that life is not about screaming, and there's so much more out there for him, make him look better then he is, make him live up to your praise. Be the parent he wants and need the nurturing kindly folks who may be able to support him, but be strict yet explain everything and be able to console and comfort.

Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

Without knowing more about him I don't know if he's acting that way because his family catered to him too much or because he has some physical/mental problems. Putting your foot down is a great start and will be very hard in the beginning. Another thing would be to find a local group that provides physical, occupational (like eating) and other such therapists. In my area, it's called Kids on the Move. You can probably find something online or through a hospital. They can help you know how to teach him.

Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

I have a son who is in the same situation. We adopted him when he was 4. He was 18 pounds. He was fed baby formula all his life so he didn't know how to swallow or chew. We took him to a speech therapist who worked with him to get him chewing. We started with things like yogurt and ice cream- things that were pleasant. Once he felt better, he started walking and, finally, saying a few words. He is also blind.
Today he is talking two and three word sentences, he eats everything you set in front of him, he uses his cane beautifully and attends Pre-k. He is very loving little boy. It took time and effort, but they are worth it.
As for the behaviors, my son has these too. Expecially the blindisms- rocking, digging at his eyes, etc. The things you are discribing are not blindness related, they are a product of his past environment and it 's important to keep the two apart. He should be taught the proper rules in your home and it will be a struggle. Sometimes I had to take my son to bed 12 times before he'd stay in it. There were many time-outs until he learned not to bite people. Eventually everything gets under control. Be patient. If you need to contact me you can do so offlist.

Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

Hi, There seems to be a log going on. Let's try to separate things out. Ok, he is coming into a brand new environment. The one that he was in was not good for him. He has lots of issues. You don't know his mental capacity and/or his visual acuity. This won't be easy. I know that you wanted to help, but you may have bitten off more than you can chew -- so to speak. The best is consistency. Start with a very easy day plan. Get up at a certain time, eat breakfast at a certain time. Dress and so on. You can incorporate potty training into your day: especially if you give lots of free time. There are diapers that feel like underwear. There are also devices that allert the child that he is wet: like a beeper or a vibrator that is put into the underwear. There are sensors that you can put in a potty or the underwear which play music when they are wet. In this way, if you put it in the potty, he will get a reward when he urinates: a song. But, I say that you should start with minimal stimulation. If he went to school with your daughter, then, continuing school would be a good consistant thing in his life. But, don't take him lots of places or expose him to many people until you both have established a good routine and some behavior rules. Be quite consistent on behavior. Don't make the rules complicated: (first time, second time, third time), just make it the same across the board. Make them easy to understand and directly after the offending behavior. I mean: let's say that he is screaming. you tell him "name, no screaming." You tell him the consequence: "If you continue to scream, I will have to put you in your room until you can calm down." If he persists, do it. Wait until he calms. (make sure that there are not any objects that are breakable or that can hurt him in the room). (You could also sit him in a chair, on the couch or -- anywhere he can cool off). When he finishes, Remind him of the rule and allow him up. Do the same thing all the time. Make a plan before you do go out, if you have to take him with you, just in case. So, if he screams at the store, maybe you or someone who is shopping with you can take him out to the car while you finish. It is important that he is safe, but that his inappropriate behavior is minimized as well as the consequences to you and your family. He can't believe that he can upset the family by his actions. It will be hard and it might take months. you will see progress, though. Add stimulation and new things into his life slowly.
Don't make him wait for the consequences and make them always the same for the same offense.
Not only will you have to go back to square 1, as if he is a toddler, but you have to help him unlearn some negative behaviors.

As far as the foods: pureed foods is easy. No mess and the child drinks and is finished. You will have to make some new routines here. First is to find foods that he might enjoy eating and can not easily swallow whole. He would have to bite into a cracker and maybe wait until it softens in his mouth. Maybe he just does not know how to chew because he never has had to do so. He might like the sound that chips make when you chew them. Let him hear you and suggest that he try it. This could also be for baby carrots, celery, (with peanutbutter on it) and many other things. Let him feel you chewing. Try to get him to repeat your actions. I hope that this helps. You can email me off list:

Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

Here is my advice. I'm a blind teenager. I have been blind since birth. I say, just let him ha( his way. I have had my way all of my life and I turned out great. If I didn't get my way I get aggressive and he will probably do the same. If you don't give him his way, he might start cussing you out or something! Lol! But yeah, he does need to be potty trained. And I eat purreyed foods also and I'm 17.

Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

Ok, lets get to reality. Just because he is blind that gives him no reason nor right to act that way. I understand that his other care giver just gave in to what he wanted in order to keep him happy, but you can't do that. I have been blind for a very long time, from birth even, and we don't act that way. Now, don't get me wrong there are many children that are blind that have other prob not just blindness. Other probs can cause blindness so taking him to the doctor is a great first step. But, if you take him and they say that he is alright just a little spoiled and blindness is his only prob, then treat him like you do your on child. I have been around lots of blind people before and i can tell who has had every thng given to them and every one feels sorry for them as well as those who haven't really had any one do any thing for them and they had to learn on there on. There is a difference. I am an exseption to both rules. My family recognised that I had a prob, but, they didn't and nor did i let that get in my way. You need to try and teach him the things that he doesn't know, then, when he is confortable with you you do just with him the same as you would your child. I understand what he came from doesn't sound like that best of places, but soon he will forget and get on task with what goes on around your house. Oh, I hope this helps and i hope that i don't sound like a well, bad, but, please listen to me I really do know what i am talking about. I have two children of my on and until about two years had no help with them. Single for 4 years with two little boys that are 11 months apart. So, if you need any help with other parenting stuff please write. I have been through it all. :) Hope to hear from you soon. is my e/mail if you would like to chat. Ashley marandasuponit

Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

My daughter is blind she does the same thing he's fustrated and bored. I correct her a lot which helps. She is very difficult sometimes. She is five but it seems like she functions at a 2 year old level. She can sense when people are stressed out too. She reacts. I'm getting help from 2 people who are helping me with her behavior. And to get her asessed. But if you give him choices and time he will be ok.

Re:HELP!!I just got a child that's blind and now I'M in the dark!!!

Ok I'm knot a parent or an adult but I want to help.
I think that taking him to the doctors is a great first step and I think that you should introduce him to whole foods and try to potty train him.
It also helps If you find out his condition of blindness and anything else you can.
I hope this helps good luck.

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