Blind Low Vision Program
Ontario's Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program is designed to give children who are born blind or with low vision the best possible start in life. Specialized family-centred services are funded by the province and are available from birth to Grade 1.
The South Eastern Region Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties is managed through the Kingston, Frontenanc and Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Health Unit.
The program provides education and support for parents so they can encourage the healthy development of their children. Parents learn to help their children develop the skills they need for daily activities at home and in early learning and daycare settings.
Without special support from an early age, a child who has low vision may have trouble learning to talk, explore and make friends when he or she begins school. A child who is blind or has low vision is at a significant risk for difficulties in all areas of development, including;
♦ communication and language
♦ fine and gross motor skills
♦ understanding and thought processes
♦ social skills
♦ emotional development
♦ self help
With the right intervention from skills professionals, parents can learn how to encourage the healthy development of their children, and help them learn the skills to succeed in school.
When children are diagnosed with blindess or low vision, a referral can be made to the local Blind-Low Vision program by an ophthalmologist. The Blind-Low Vision program offers three types of services;
1. Family Support- offered through the QCTC Social Worker
2. Intervention Services - offered through Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
Office in Kingston
3. Consultation Services - Offered through Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
Office in Kingston
The Family Support Services provides support to parents when their child has been diagnosed with blindness or low vision. These services are provided by family support workers who are graduate-level social workers specially trained in the impact of a visual impairment on child development. The family support worker will assist the family to understand and cope with the implications of the diagnosis and help them make informed decisions about support services and funding options.
For further information on the program, please contact the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Health Unit at 1-613-659-7692 or 1-800-267-7875 or visit their website at http://www.kflapublichealth.ca.