Raised by a blind parent

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Raised by a blind parent

This weeks blog came from an idea my wife Amy had recently about giving the much needed perspective of what it’s like to be a child of someone living with sight loss.

I often think about the way my blindness has impacted my children. I’d like to think that the positive far outweighs the negative but I’m well aware that my sight’s limitations do affect our family life.

When I was a young boy I grew up with a dad who was in his 60’s. Being older meant he wasn’t as active as most of my friends parents so he couldn’t play football with me in the park and do other similar things. By the time I was a teenager my dads health wasn’t great and he’d suffered a number of heart attacks and strokes. Our relationship had missed out on so much to the point where I felt I didn’t know anything about him. From the moment I became a dad I was determined that my children wouldn’t feel the way I did. Our relationship would be very different from the one I had with my parents.

So when I started to lose my sight almost 9 years ago I became more determined than ever to make sure my children didn’t suffer anymore than I could help it sue to my disability.

My youngest Austin is a prime example of this. He was only a baby when I was diagnosed so having a parent who is blind is all he has ever known. I’ve seen his realisation of my sight go from being upset that I can’t read certain stories or go certain places alone together to being an extremely caring and considerate young boy who helps other children at his school with additional needs. Growing up with me as his dad has shaped him into a person he might not have become if he hadn’t grown up seeing my challenges. The way he helps me and others is something that has come natural to his because of the environment he’s grown up in.

This week I want to give a rare insight into how it really feels to growing up with a blind parent.

So instead of ending my blog with a poem. This week I want to leave you with an interview. Austin my 9 year old son and also the main character in my latest book Austin’s amazing adventures has agreed to answer a few questions about how he feels about my sight loss and having a parent who is going blind .

Can you tell everyone what being blind means you can see

Austin – A large percent of blind people can but people always consider blindness as seeing nothing and that needs to change

What’s the hardest thing about having a parent who is blind

Austin – Being in busy places with them as it’s harder to help them

What’s the best thing about having a parent who is blind

Austin – The best thing is exploring new places with them spending time together and making memories

What do you think things will be like in the future when I can’t see anything else

Austin – it will be a tiny bit harder but what we go through as a family inspires other people and helps them to understand they can achieve anything

What are people’s reactions when we go out and I’m using my cane

Austin- Some people in busy places think you are faking your blindness and that makes me feel sad that people are judging you because of your disability

What are you most proud of me for

Austin- The way I help people and the way I take care of me and you give the best hugs