My child has been diagnosed with a vision impairment. What happens now?

Finding out your child has a visual impairment can be an emotional and confusing time, making it difficult to take in everything you are told in your initial consultations. There are organisations and specialists available that can provide you with advice, guidance and information as well as emotional support.

Your consultant should put you in touch with an ECLO (Eye Care Liaison Officer) - if they don't, ask if you can have an appointment with one as they are a gateway to available services. They will also be able to provide you with information that can help you understand your child's eye condition.

Get in contact with your local authority Vision Impairment Teaching service or SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) team (SEN in Northern Ireland). They can support and help you and your child with development and educational needs. They will normally work with you at home or your child's nursery or school.

The different people you will meet, how they can help you as well as some of the terms used, including acronyms can become confusing. For further information see Who does what in eye care and how can they help my child? and What are the various medical terms associated with a vision impairment?

You can find a local VI teacher and ECLO on the Sightline Directory by entering your postcode and the search words 'local authority', 'sensory services' or ECLO.

Further information and support can be found on RNIB's Parenting a child with a vision impairment, the Guide Dogs Children and Young People's and the Royal Society of Blind Children (RSBC's) webpages.

You can also download a copy of 'Starting Point' from the Guide Dogs website. Starting point is a guide for parents whose children have a vision impairment and contains advice and information on resources that you may find helpful.

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