I love working with children. When I was in middle school, I volunteered at a preschool-aged day camp for a few summers and did a mentorship at my elementary school for my senior year of high school. I love the natural curiosity that they have about the world, and how they share what is on their mind. I have had many children approach me, many which I hadn’t met before, and ask me questions about my low vision and blindness cane. Here is how I recommend answering children’s questions about low vision. This post is targeted for children in the preschool or elementary school age range.
Why do you carry a stick everywhere?
This long cane helps me to feel what my surroundings are by sending vibrations to the top of the cane. It also lets other people know that I can’t see very well.
Can you see me?
You’re blurry and there’s two of you, but yes, I can see where you are.
- Two of Everything: My Life with Double Vision
- How Do People With Vision Impairments Visit Children’s Museums?
Why did you walk into that pole?
I didn’t notice there was something in front of me because I have trouble seeing. I’ll admit, I was very embarrassed to answer this question, because I didn’t quite know the answer myself.
Why are you wearing sunglasses inside/at night?
I wear shaded glasses because the light hurts my eyes. The lights in the house and the street lights outside all make me feel like my eyes are on fire.
Look at my art! Can you see it?
This was more common when I worked at the preschool camp, but normally I would tell kids that I was glad they were showing me what they had drawn and that they were so creative. Some kids would purposely draw things in high-contrast so I could see them.
Will you read what I wrote?
Will you read it to me instead? I have trouble reading, but I would love to hear what you wrote.
Why are those letters so huge?
I can’t see small letters because I have bad eyesight. So I write things larger so I can see them.
Can I wear your glasses?
No, I can’t take them off, or else my eyes will burn from the light. This is one of the most common questions when it comes to answering children’s questions about low vision- they want to see what I see.
What does your vision look like?
My brother came up with this cool way of showing people what my blurry eyesight is like- take your fingers, and slant your eyelids. When done correctly, the eyes have limited peripheral vision, blurry eyesight, and limited depth perception. While I also see double, this works as a great trick to show kids how I see with my glasses.
Can you ride a bike?
I can’t ride a bike, I can’t see what’s around me. What about you? Can you ride a bike?
I have a sister your age, why can she see and you can’t?
Everybody is different, and we all have things that make us different from each other. For example, your sister can see very well, and I can’t.
How can I help you?
While I don’t let children act as my human guides, I would have them read me non-important things or help me do a head count. I also encourage them to learn about vision impairment with positive simulations.
- How Do People With Vision Impairments Use Human Guides?
- 12 Safe Alternatives To The Bird Box Challenge
I never get offended at questions from children, and I had teachers and other professionals help me develop and refine my answers. I hope these tips help you with answering children’s questions about low vision!