Registering your child as visually impaired can be a very overwhelming thought.
You may not want to label them as ‘disabled’ or it may feel like you’re putting them in a box. However, “registration” simply means being on your local social service’s register of people who are either severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted). It is voluntary and completely confidential, and your details won’t be shared.
You will get a CVI (Certificate of Visual Impairment) from your child’s eye specialist, likely an ophthalmologist, after they have completed visual testing examinations. Your child’s vision has to meet the specific criteria on a visual acuity test in order to qualify for a CVI. It will detail whether your child is sight impaired or severely sight impaired. Keeping the CVI safe is important as you will be asked to present it on a number of occasions to provide proof and it isn’t an easy process to have it replaced.
Registering your child as visually impaired is not mandatory, however it can make it much easier for you and your child to access support and services, including the benefits listed here:
“You must now go away with this document and register your daughter as blind”. The emotional struggles you face at that time means this process is very daunting, and approaching it rationally can be difficult. However, I’m at a point now that I can reflect on how massively helpful the registration process has been. The help and support that opened up as a result of registration has been amazing.
Read one parent’s personal story of the registration process in our blogs section.
Other sources of information
The NHS website has very clear information about the registration process.
The RNIB website has a video covering an appointment with an ophthalmologist and registering as visually impaired, which might help children know what to expect.