Here are the listings for the Parent Support Group sessions coming up in 2024. This -peer-led group for parent carers of blind and visually impaired children and young people meets fortnightly on Monday 7.30pm. Newcomers are always welcome.

February 26th panel event – Understanding Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI), and the impact it has on a child’s education and social and emotional development.

Cerebral Visual Impairment (commonly referred to as CVI) is a form of visual impairment caused by the brain not being able to process information from the eyes passing along the visual pathways in the brain. It is the commonest cause of visual impairment in children in the developed world.
Cerebral visual impairment is a hidden disability. Unlike cerebral palsy, it cannot be seen. Yet it can be disabling, frustrating and lead to social difficulties.

As parents, how can we better understand this complex condition? And importantly how can we best communicate the challenges for our young people within education?

We are delighted to be joined by Janet Harwood, Chair of Trustees from The CVI Society, who will talk about how to better understand this complex condition in your developing child. Janet brings with her a wealth of experience from a long career as a QTVI specialising in CVI. Alongside her role supporting families through The CVI Society, Janet delivers training nationwide for education professionals working towards QTVI qualification, and directly into education and local authorities.

We will also hear from one of our Parent Carers, Suzanne Hollinshead about her journey with her 15 year old son Zac, and Young Ambassadors from The CVI Society on their lived experiences growing up with CVI and how it affects their daily lives.

To book your place fill out this form

March 11th Chat Session – all parent carers of VI children and young people are welcome.

Our parent led support group welcomes new members. It’s a safe place to come and share what has been happening for your children and gain insight, support, and strategies to manage the difficult situations we encounter as advocates for our sons and daughters. Come along and listen for some key advice and guidance from other parent carers who understand what you are going through. Share the triumphs and tragedies with our parent carer community and leave feeling less isolated and ready to take on the world again.

The group is growing so if you have a burning question for our community please ask it when you register and Jane and Jo will do their best to ensure it is covered during the session.  If you are new to the group let us know beforehand any support you might need to participate. It is always OK to just come and listen and we have a chat function if that is easier as well.

To register and ask questions in advance please use this form

March 25th Panel Event – Moving On to Adult Services – how to prepare and support your VI young person for the change in benefits (PiP), medical appointments, social care and education.

Are you a parent of a blind or partially sighted teenager worried about how they are going to manage their finances independently in the future? How will they budget, access their bank account, manage their benefits and pay bills themselves? We cannot wrap our children in cotton wool but it can be hard to imagine what steps need to be taken in order for them to take charge of their money (including benefits) in a safe and responsible way. What about more vulnerable visually impaired young people with complex needs, what does financial independence look like for them?

On March 25th our panel of experts will help you begin to think about the best way forward for your family. Dominic Milne who works for the RNIB as a Legal Rights Advisor will talk about PIP, Employment and Support Allowance, Access to Work and other financial support your VI young people could be entitled to as they become adults. He will also explain what being an appointee involves, getting Lasting Power of Attorney and how you make decisions in the best interests of your child as they move into adulthood. 

Joining Dominic to share her lived experience as a independent DeafBlind adult will be LOOK staff member Andrea Salt who is a working Mum, employs PAs and manages her family’s finances. Andrea’s past employment has included working in a bank.   

We will also have two LOOK mentors on the panel who will share how they manage their money and what support they got from their parents when it came to accessing and understanding finances. Nicky Ralls, expert parent from our LOOK community, will share her experience of supporting her two children who have different, complex needs. Understanding when you can let go and when you need to intervene is a tricky process. 

Please join us online on the 25th March for an interesting discussion which will help you consider the steps you need to take to ensure your child becomes as financially independent as possible. To register for the event and ask questions in advance use the button below.

Find out more about our Parent Support Group

Visit our LOOK Parent Support Group page to find out all about the group and how to be involved.