Children don’t often complain about how they see or are even aware of a visual problem.

The Ontario Association of Optometrists recommends that children have their first eye exam at six months of age. In Ontario, eye exams for all children 19 years old and under are covered by OHIP. Visit Eye See Eye Learn for more information.

The following strategies can be used with your child who has or is suspected of having a visual impairment. By using these strategies, you are helping to maximize your child’s potential.

  • Give your child time to respond to what you are showing.
  • Check the lighting condition in your child’s environment. Your child may need more or less light.
  • Remove glare when possible. Glares on screens or glossy surfaces make it hard to see the contents.
  • Make sure your child is not facing a bright light source. It is hard to see an object or person who is located in front of a bright light source such as a bright window.
  • Use clear and accurate verbal descriptions or instructions. Avoid using ambiguous words such as “here and there” or “this and that”.
  • Use bright, shiny or light-up toys and objects to get your child’s visual attention.
  • When showing toys or objects to your child, present just one or two at a time to avoid overwhelming your child.
  • Bring objects closer to your child or bring your child closer to the objects. Allow your child to use all other senses (e.g. hearing, touch, smell and taste) to explore the world.
  • Make sure the environment is safe for your child to move around in and to explore.
  • Your attitude is important. Keep a positive attitude and your child will pick it up from you.

Parent Resources

A number of resources are available that provide information for parents/caregivers of children who are blind or have low vision.

Services for Children Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
Ministry of Children and Youth Services brochure about Ontario’s Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program.
Also available in French.

Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD)
The Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities Program helps parents with some of the extra costs of caring for a child who has a disability.

Community Care Access Centre
Provides in home assistance from a personal care worker, nursing, speech therapy, occupational and physiotherapy. There are 14 local offices across Ontario. Call 310 – 2222 to find your local CCAC office (no area code is needed for this call).

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation teaching hospital.  It is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and provides information and resources for children and youth with disabilities.

EarlyON Child and Family Centres
Offers free drop-in programs for caregivers and children from birth to 6 years old.

Special Services at Home (SSAH)
Provides financial support to families who are caring for a child with a developmental or physical disability. The program helps families pay for special services in or outside the family home as long as the child is not receiving support from a residential program.

Tax information for persons with a disability
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) administers a range of benefits and credits for individuals with a disability or those who are caring for a dependant with a disability.

Toronto Children’s Services
Provides information on child care services, family resource centres, and services for children with special needs.

Disclaimer: Links to sites external to the Toronto Public Health Web site are provided as a convenience. Their inclusion does not imply that Toronto Public Health endorses or accepts any responsibility for the content or use of these sites.