Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Information Clearinghouse Created for Families and Caregivers

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Information Clearinghouse Created for Families and Caregivers

Article excerpt

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) recently launched FamilyConnect, an online, multimedia community for parents and guardians of children with visual impairments. Located online at , the fully accessible web site offers parents and caregivers access to message boards where they can talk to other parents, videos featuring the personal stories of families whose children have visual impairments, articles on parenting a child with visual impairment, a blog authored by the mother of a child with visual impairment, a glossary of more than 30 eye conditions, and links to local resources across the United States. The site also features sections dedicated to multiple disabilities, technology, education, and every age group from infants to teens.

A recent NAPVI-AFB survey of parents of children with visual impairments showed that parents or guardians turn to physicians (82%), educators (76%), and web sites (65%) for information and support regarding their children's vision problems. These findings are consistent with national statistics from the 2006 Pew Internet and American Life Project, which showed that 80% of American adult Internet users have searched for health information online. For parents living in rural areas with fewer resources, the Internet is particularly important to finding information and services.

"When I talk to parents of visually impaired children they almost always ask about three things: they want to talk to other parents who have children with the same eye condition as their child, they want access to the latest health and education information, and they want to know what the future holds," said Susan LaVenture, executive director of NAPVI; "FamilyConnect offers parents all these things--and more--in one place. …

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