Calling a spade a spade – How I felt registering my daughter as blind

With Scarlett being nine years old now, the thoughts and feelings that surrounded the terrifying registration process are well behind me. She has been registered for 8 years and 8 months now, and the help and support opened up as a result of that registration has been amazing.

I was lucky to have a very good sensory impairment service in my local authority. I would have never been able to access that if I didn’t go through the registration process. We had input from the educational psychologist, QTVI’s, and habilitation workers. Having that little CVI helped so much with that.

Similarly, we have been a part of many charitable organisations over many years now. My first encounter was with Henshaws mother and toddler group in Manchester when Scarlett was 18 months old! To access the events, help, support and grants, it is imperative that you follow the registration process. It makes things so much easier for you when determining what help you can get.

From a financial point of view, its been very helpful in obtaining extra funds to help raise Scarlett. Due to the level of complexity of her conditions, it has not been possible to work full time as she requires a lot of extra care. The benefits system can be quite daunting and confusing but the CVI really does help.

I’m at a point now that I can reflect on how massively beneficial registration is. However, the feelings I felt when told, “You must now go away with this document and register your daughter as blind” stay with me. The emotional struggles you face at that time means that thinking about this process is very daunting. It’s a particularly difficult time in life and approaching it rationally can be difficult.

In a way, it makes things definitive. You add the label. Also, my knowledge of the labelling theory from my A-Level sociology days came back to haunt me. It states that people come to identify and behave in ways that reflect how others label them. I believe at that point in Scarlett’s life I wasn’t ready to fully accept that she was different or that she was inherently blind. At the time, even the medical professionals couldn’t answer that question let alone me. I didn’t want her to follow a path of the self-fulfilling prophecy or to start fostering certain behaviours as a result of a label that I had been given the responsibility of thrusting onto my baby girl.

I did however complete the registration and it did help. And eight years on it continues to help. More importantly, I feel that accepting this official label is the real life personification of accepting one particular label that is correct for Scarlett. She is blind and she will always be blind. But I have come to realise that despite that, she is in no way shape or form defined as just that. To me, and to other people, she is just so much more! Having that certificate will never take away from that!

For more information on registering your child as sight impaired, visit our Getting Registered section.

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