Our Children, Young People and Families (CYPF) team provides support, information, advice, events and training to families and professionals who are supporting children and young people with vision impairment aged 0-25. 

We are aware that remote learning, digital access and the impact of school closures raises specific issues for children and young people with vision impairment (VI). The RNIB CYPF and Education team have a dedicated mailbox that is monitored Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. If you want to speak to one of our Family Support Officers for information, advice or guidance relating to children and young people with vision impairment please email [email protected] or call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999.

In addition to our usual provision, we have some new activities to help families during the coronavirus pandemic and the current national lockdown. 

Home schooling resources

Online advice session for parents

VIP home school hub – technology and home schooling 

One-hour Q&A session – 19 January 2021 – 4.30pm 

Are you home schooling your child during a lockdown but struggling to understand their technology? Unsure of how to sync BrailleNote to your home printer? Can’t get JAWS to work? Is Supernova playing up?

Come along to our drop-in Q&A session; a Qualified Teacher of children with Vision Impairment (QTVI) and technology specialist will be on hand to offer advice and support.  

Following this event we will collate top technology tips and a Q&A document for reference. We will also offer a repeat of this event if it is popular and in high demand. 

If you are interested in this event, please email [email protected] and you will be sent a link to join the session before the end of Monday 18 January.  

QTVI and habilitation support

If you need advice about supporting your child's learning from your QTVI or Habilitation Specialist during the current lockdown, we can help you to reach your local team. 

RNIB Bookshare

RNIB Bookshare is a free education collection providing textbooks and materials to support the UK curriculum. Our range of accessible formats can be read electronically and adapted to suit the personal reading needs of learners. We now have over 644,000 titles with more being added all the time. Through schools' organisational accounts, individual learners can be allocated their own member account and access the resources they need in a format they can read. 

For more more information on RNIB Bookshare and how to register, visit the Bookshare website.


Activities for children, young people and families

RNIB's spring Shape and Share events 

We have a new series of online events to put a spring in your step. Join us for craft, story-telling, ‘jump, jiggle and jive’, pizza making and sessions on online safety. There is also a session for young people in which they can choose their own discussion topic. 

Events start on 4 February 2021 and are a great way for children and young people with VI and their families to make new friends, try new things and engage in some much-needed fun.

Crafty creations, fun for the whole family 

Thursday 4 February 2021 at 4pm-6pm 

Saturday 6 February 2021 at 11am-1pm

Keeping children safe online, parent session

Thursday 11 February 2021 at 7pm-9pm

Eye link for young people (topic to be decided by participants)

Group 1 (14-17 year olds) – Wednesday 24 February and Wednesday 3 March 2021 at 6pm-7pm 

Group 2 (18-25 year olds) – Wednesday 24 February and Wednesday 3 March 2021 at 7pm-8pm

The Pizza Pantry, cooking session for children aged 11-16

Saturday 27 February 2021 at 11:30am-1pm

The Enormous Crocodile, story and craft for children aged 5-12

Saturday 6 March 2021 at 11am-midday

Red and the Wolf, sensory story session for children with complex needs

Saturday 20 March 2021 at 11:30am-12:30pm

Jump, jiggle and jive, music and movement session for babies and children up to age five

Saturday 27 March at 11am-midday

Family spring festival, fun for the whole family 

Saturday 10 April 2021 at 10:30am-midday

For more information contact [email protected] or visit our online booking form.

Reading services

RNIB Newsagent

Children's newspapers and magazines, such as National Geographic Kids, are available from RNIB Newsagent. A parent, carer or teacher can set up an account by calling our Helpline on 0303 123 999. The account will be in the child’s name. A subscription to the relevant titles will then be created – there is a selection of braille, eText (email) and audio titles suitable for children, all available free of charge to individuals under the age of 16.

RNIB Library

Our library has a specific section for young people, with a large variety of titles available in different formats. 

Online shop

RNIB Shop has varying products for sale that are useful for learning, including curriculum support, literacy and tools helpful when taking notes. Our specialist educational products can support learning from early years to university and beyond.


Resources for families during school closures

Let’s play  

This is a guide to help you create fun-filled playtimes for your child to develop and explore their senses. All children love to play, but vision is just one way to explore and learn about the world. The toys in this guide have been selected by parents, children and play experts for their tactile, sound, scented and visually stimulating play potential. The guide also suggests ways to create or adapt play activities using everyday items.

Messy and muddy 

For children with vision impairment, playing outside provides the perfect opportunity to stay healthy, have fun and learn about the world. Whether it’s creating a sensory garden, ball games or just playing in the mud, this guide suggests different ways to make the most out of opportunities for outdoor play in the garden at home.

Parties and playdates 

Originally developed as a resource for encouraging social interaction, this guide contains many creative ideas that can be enjoyed by families at home and in the garden. NB: Please use the activity ideas within your own household only and continue to observe the government’s advice on social distancing.  


Resources for education professionals

We're working to ensure that children and young people with VI continue to receive the specialist education and habilitation support they need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Exams

We know now that exams in all UK nations will not be taking place this summer. The replacement assessments in England have not yet been decided but we are working with Ofqual and the DfE to ensure the needs of students with VI are not overlooked at this time. 

Continued professional development

We are continuing our offer of virtual training this term and have details of what’s on offer and how to sign up.

Professional updates 

We have information for education professionals regarding coronavirus and the delivery of education and specialist support.


Resources for parents and carers

FAQs 

There are a range of questions and answers for children, young people and families during coronavirus that you can access on our Sight Advice FAQ page. This information will be updated regularly. In order for us to provide the most useful advice and support, we would like to hear from you if there are specific issues of concern, particular “how do I” questions or topics that you would like us to focus on so that we can tailor our help in the best way. Please email [email protected] using the subject line “How we can help you”.

Facebook group 

Join our community that brings together everyone who is a parent or carer of a child who's blind, partially sighted or lives with any degree of vision impairment. It's a closed group and is a supportive, safe environment where you can share your story, ask questions, get advice and talk about the issues that matter to you and your family. This group is facilitated by the CYPF team. 

You could also join a Facebook group to connect with others in your UK region.

Living Well with Sight Loss – Parent Pathways course

Our Parent Pathways course (part of the Living Well with Sight Loss series) is going to launch this spring and will be opening for bookings soon. Join a small group of other parents for a series of online sessions where you can get information, advice and peer support. This course is for parents whose child has recently been diagnosed with VI. The content will include early support and intervention, home life and helping your child to grow and learn, benefits and support services, education provision and accessing specialist support. If you want to know more please contact [email protected]