With endless present lists on my iPhone Notes, earmarking a day off work purely for Christmas shopping and nipping out each lunchtime to buy bits and pieces, it’s fair to say my Christmas has become pretty commercial. So when, in amongst the festive offers, I got an email about a new study on childhood blindness by the RLSB (the Royal London Society for Blind People) and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), it stopped me in my tracks.
As a family, we are so lucky to have our full sight – and I’ve realised since having Scrip that seeing is such an important part of a child’s learning and one that I take completely for granted. The sad findings of this new report show the harsh reality faced by a child with sight difficulties when they reach 11 years old. Such as:
- Most blind and partially sighted children are less confident than their sighted peers at aged 11.
- They find it harder to make friends, are more likely to be socially isolated, and are more likely to live in financial hardship.
- Children with sight loss are twice as likely to be bullied or picked on by other children, according to parents and teachers.
No small child should have this to look forward to. However, there is hope. The RLSB believes these difficulties can be avoided with early intervention through expert support for the children, their families and schools. To help young blind children reach their potential, they provide support at an early age at dedicated family drop-in centres and assist parents how to bring up a blind child.
They are currently running a Christmas appeal so they can open three more groups in London and the South East. Sylvia makes an incredible 50 mile round trip each week to take her granddaughter Zoe (in the picture above) to one of the family drop-in services.
Instead of shopping this lunchtime I’ll be clicking and donating, to help the appeal and Scrip’s peers and their families.