Serving young children with visual impairments
and their families since 1938

Adult Education Course

Class sessions are held at the Center Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. A minimum of one parent must be available to participate regularly. Most infants and parents attend classes a minimum of two times a week. Classes operate under the guidance of a teacher and an assistant. Adult education classes In Texas are held to offer training and support to parents.

Blind Childrens Centers specialists and therapists also work with the infants and parents regularly. The Centers parent mentor provides peer support and professional family service providers offer crisis intervention and individual and family counseling.

The Centers home-based component offers home sessions to children/families who are already enrolled at the Center; to new clients who may be unable to participate at the Center due to a child's fragile health, lack of transportation or geographic distance; and to those who may not come to the Center due to emotional or cultural barriers.

Mothers and fathers are their childrens first teachers. Blind Childrens Center staff build upon this crucial relationship by teaching parents how to motivate and encourage their children in a number of ways, such as using voice, music or a noise-making toy to encourage infants to initiate independent movement (reaching, crawling or walking). While the Center's specially trained teachers work with the infants and toddlers in the classroom, parents watch and soon gain the confidence to participate. Parents also learn to use specific techniques at home to reinforce the gains the child makes at school. Because the classroom setting is designed to simulate a home environment with furniture, carpet and a kitchen area, the transition from school to home is nearly seamless. Seemingly simple tasks for a sighted child are tremendously challenging for the child who is blind and the parents. Activities include: placing the infant on her stomach and having her lift her head and upper body to strengthen back, arm and neck muscles; letting her practice sitting up with support to prepare her for sitting independently; and practicing care giving techniques (such as abundant touching/holding and feeding on demand) which nurture trust and confidence. Parents are also taught how to help the infant overcome an exaggerated fear of sudden noises and the tendency to reject new tactile textures, including solid foods.

Emotional support and training for the parents of blind and visually impaired infants are equally important elements of the Infant Program. Activities for parents include support groups where parents can express and understand their feelings about their child, learn to empathize with the special needs of their child, gain information about how the absence of vision affects the child's development, and have access to professionals and other parents who share their experience.

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