If you’ve been with me on this journey for a while you know that hearing the words “your son is blind” were the hardest words I had ever heard at that point. Right after the doctor said that, I asked a few goofy questions (watch my TEDx talk to hear the dumb things I asked.) The doctor answered my questions to my devastated face by saying, “I have no idea what to tell you. Good luck.”
I know most doctors don’t give a Mom like me a big ol’ hug and counsel them for hours to reassure them that all will be ok, but here is what I wished he would have said, or had someone there to say it, or emailed me later to say it. Ad if you or someone you know is struggling with a blindness diagnosis, or have been doing well but are in a pit of “blindness sucks” for whatever reason, I hope the words I needed then will help you now:
“Hey listen, I know that having a blind child seems like it will be a daunting experience. You may feel like your child is at a disadvantage and that they won’t be able to thrive in the same way that other children can. But I want to assure you that your child can thrive, and that there are many resources available to help them do so.
First of all, it’s important to remember that blindness is not a barrier to success. There are many successful blind people in the world, from musicians to athletes to business leaders. Your child can achieve anything they set their mind to, and there are many organizations and programs that can help them do so.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to provide your child with a supportive and nurturing environment. This means making sure they have access to the resources they need, such as Braille books and assistive technology, and encouraging them to pursue their interests and passions.
It’s also important to connect with other parents of blind children, as well as with organizations that support blind individuals and their families. These groups can provide valuable resources and support, as well as opportunities for your child to connect with other blind children and adults.
Finally, it’s important to remember that your child is not defined by their blindness. They are a unique individual with their own strengths, talents, and personality. By focusing on their abilities and supporting them in their goals, you can help your child thrive and achieve their full potential.
So, Mom, don’t be discouraged. Your child can thrive, and with your love and support, they will.”
That’s what I wished someone had said to me 23 years ago. It would have prevented my three year daily couch cry routine. I do not want anyone to suffer like I did because I know now that all of those words above are true; my guys have thrived beyond all of my expectations.
If you know a Mom or Dad or Grandparent or individual struggling with a blindness diagnosis, please forward this to them. If YOU are the one struggling, I invite you to check out the online community I co-created where you may want to join our live video chats each week: www.ThriivngBlindAcademy.org
You do not have to figure this out alone. I make 100% certain of that!
PS – If you’d like a free download of the introduction chapter of my first book to learn how I moved from crying on the couch to guiding my guys to their greatness, click here.
Kristin Smedley is a 2019 Champion of Hope Award winner. She is a two time Best Selling author, non profit leader and TEDx speaker. She originally planned to be a third grade teacher… and then two of her three children were diagnosed as blind. Kristin now speaks around the world sharing her journey to open the world’s eyes to seeing challenges and blindness differently. Kristin founded Thriving Blind Academy to solve the unemployment and literacy crisis in the blind community. Watch her TEDx talk here and order her book, Thriving Blind here and her children’s book here. If you are interested to have Kristin speak at your upcoming virtual, live or hybrid event email her at Kristin@ThrivingBlindAcademy.org or download her speaker kit here.