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Through Her Eyes: My Daughter Is Losing Her Sight.. 5 Ways We Stay Focused On The Big Picture

DevinPink

Through Her Eyes:
My Daughter Is Losing Her Sight..
5 Ways We Stay Focused On The Big Picture

My 15-year-old daughter is vision impaired due to Keratoconus and Inter Cranial Hypertension (Pseudo Tumor Cerebri) and the progressive decline in sight began around age 10. What a journey this has been as a single mother juggling career, raising children and now adjusting to my beautiful daughter’s disability. I still struggle with the word “disability” but we hear it frequently and it’s our new reality.

Raising any child is rather trial and error (hopefully less error if we’re fortunate), but there are five big things I’ve learned along the way with Devin.

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1. RESPONSIBILITIES
ARE A MUST

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She needs to have responsibilities if she’s going to be a responsible person. People are always surprised to learn that Devin cooks, helps clean and does laundry with her poor eyesight. In fact she does more around our house than some of my friend’s kids who have no health issues. Why? Ummmm…because it needs to be done and Mama won’t always be around to do it for her. And because it’s just what I believe people do in the house they live in.

Read more:  10 From GEM:  10 Hearty And Healthy Fall Foods

2. DON’T DO IT FOR HER

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Devin and I are both learning how to cope with her vision impairment and her chronic illness (more on that later). She doesn’t fold the towels exactly the way I do because she doesn’t see the way I do. And that’s ok. If she’s struggling with something I have learned that it doesn’t mean that she cannot do it, it just might mean that she’s figuring out a new way to do it. I have to wait until she asks me for help and she’s learning how to ask for help…not always easy for a strong willed person!

Read More: Single Mom Slice of Life: I Admit It…. I Need Help!

3. DON’T MINIMIZE
HER IMPAIRMENT

Doo-Eye

I don’t minimize her vision loss because it’s just hurtful to her and serves no purpose. Devin’s diminished eyesight is difficult and even uncomfortable for some people to accept and, even after it is explained, they will purposely downplay it. That happens in many ways, but usually sounds like, “Oh, I can’t see a thing without my glasses so I get it.” or “Oh, I think she can see more than she lets on!” Really? Why would anyone not “let on” to seeing? Another popular one is “Well my friend (sister, aunt, cousin, neighbor) was totally blind and SHE could do that (whatever it is Devin is struggling with).” I have to gently remind them that Devin wasn’t born blind, that she is still sighted but it is limited sight and that she only began losing her vision 5 years ago and it’s been progressive. So, she has to adjust and readjust and is still learning how to navigate her world.

Read more: Guest Posting: Living Life With Profound Purpose

4. DON’T MAXIMIZE 
HER
IMPAIRMENT

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Yep…there’s always a flipside. She really gets annoyed if someone assumes that she cannot do something or thinks she needs help with everything. The only thing Devin has ever been told that she CANNOT do (until and unless technology changes) is drive a car. I don’t let her off the hook with her responsibilities because she can’t see as well as others and I don’t do everything for her. The key is balance. We accept the vision loss for what it is today and make accommodations so she can accomplish her goals. No more. No less.

Read more: Kids’ Questions: I Crashed The Family Car!

5. MAMA IS HOME BASE

Dev-Mama

I’ve learned to be her starting and finishing point at this time in her life. While so many things in her life are uncertain I provide the comfort and refuge she needs. I am the strong foundation, the support system, the launching pad AND the landing pad. I’m the Mama…the Home Base.

Read more: To My Daughter: 3 Good Reasons Not To “Opt Out”
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Do you have a child with a disability or impairment?  What are your thoughts on responsibilities and letting them do things on their own?

StaciaA

Stacia Hood is a mental health/substance abuse therapist and writer living in the Dallas, Texas area.  She has four children; two biological and two that were gifted to her through a former marriage.  The ‘big kids’ are out and about in the world so it’s just Mom and ‘The Baby’ left at home together.  Through Her Eyes is a peek into the life of Stacia and her daughter Devin who began losing her vision several years ago.  Follow her on Twitter @Stacia411 and Fearlessgrace.wordpress.com.

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