Kids with Vision Impairment

If you’re a kid with vision impairment, we know that there’s a lot you can and want to do. And, we’re here to help.

Check out these tips and info just for you.

Telling Others What it's Like to Have Vision Impairment

The first thing to keep in mind is that many people don’t know what it’s like to live with impaired vision.

But you can help both others and yourself by letting them know what it’s like for you.

Here are some tips:

Parents or guardians — let them know exactly how you’re feeling today, or what kinds of stuff you’ve been thinking about. They want to know!

Doctors and nurses — it might seem like your parents do all the talking when you see your health care team. But they really want (and need!) to hear from you, too.

Tell them what’s new — if your vision has changed, even if it seems like a really small change. And always ask questions. They’re here for you.

Teachers — let them know:

  • If something is new with your vision.
  • When you enjoy an assignment
  • If something is challenging for you.

Librarian — tell your librarian what interests you. They can help you find just about anything you may want to read or see.

They can also suggest books, movies, video games, and other things you might like.

Other kids — everyone is curious. When you make friends, they’ll have questions about you just like you’ll have questions about them.

What do you like? What don’t you like?

Your friends may ask about your vision, so be ready to answer. Is there a simple way to explain your diagnosis?

As you talk with other kids, you’ll likely find out you have a lot in common.

Having Fun by Yourself

  1. Play games! Some video games aren’t just fun, but could be good for your eyes if you have impaired vision.
  2. Go online! Computers and smart devices provide access to all kinds of tools and info. Teachers, librarians, and others can help you learn how to use them and introduce you to products that can make it easier.
  3. Go outside! Get outdoors and into the action. Try biking, skiing, swimming, or playing sports. Learn about national and local activity groups, including camps.
  4. Read! Whether you read large print or braille, use assistive technology, or just listen, there are more books and magazines than ever before. And it’s super easy for you to get them. Along with going to your school and local library, check out free online services like Bookshare and BARD.
  5. If you live in Pittsburgh or its suburbs, you can go to the Carnegie Library for the Blind for free! You can also ask them to mail materials to you.

    Here’s what you’ll find at the library:

    • 80,000 audio books.
    • 10,000 large-print books.
    • Hundreds of movies with described video on DVD.
    • Tactile games — including cards, Scrabble®, Monopoly®, and more.
    • Audio playback equipment that you can borrow.
    • A machine that can print the braille version of any document.
    • Tech training classes to make you an expert and tell you all about the best apps.

Having Fun with Friends

Beep balls

Have you thought of using your ears to play baseball? Beep baseball is quite popular.

Visually impaired players follow the different sounds of the beeping ball and beeping bases to get in the action.

You can use beep balls for:

  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Football

And there’s also beep Frisbee®.

If you use your imagination, you don’t need a special ball that beeps.

For instance, a sighted person could stand near the basketball net and call out “beep.” You can follow the sound to make a shot.

Or, put any kind of ball in a plastic bag. When the ball moves, it will make noise that you can follow by ear.

Descriptive video

People with impaired vision can “watch” movies and TV shows that use descriptive videos.

This means that the original audio (dialogue and music) is there, but you can also hear someone describing the scene. It lets you know what's happening in the movie, even though you may not be able to see the screen.

Movie theaters have special audio description headsets that you can ask for.

More fun ideas

Other fun things to try with friends:

  • Listen to audio books.
  • Watch a movie with descriptive video.
  • Play computer games.
  • Play Braille Scrabble® or other board games, like checkers and chess.
  • Make up stories and plays. Perform the plays.
  • Build something together out of LEGO® bricks, wood, cardboard, or other items you find around the house. Remember to ask your parent or guardian first if you’re using parts from around the house!
  • Do an art project, like making something out of clay or paper maché.
  • Take a walk or ride a bicycle for two.
  • Take a class together — like gymnastics, martial arts, or ballet.
  • Go to the park, playground, or even a local amusement park.
  • If you and your friend like to sing or play an instrument, make music together.
  • Send text messages and emails.
  • Use your imagination and make up games you can play together.