Seeing Things Differently Support Groups in 2022!

Blind Beginnings is excited to announce that we will be offering three Virtual Seeing Things Differently support groups in 2022 – two groups for parents, and one group for youth.

**Seeing Things Differently Parent Support Groups**
Since 2014, parents of children and youth who are blind or partially sighted have been invited to participate in our “Seeing Things Differently” Parent Support Groups.

In 2022, this program is expanding to include two separate groups. One is structured for parents raising children birth to five years of age, and another for parents raising children and youth who are school aged.  Parents who have attended the Seeing Things Differently support group in the past are welcome to register for this program again. 

You have a child with a visual impairment which means life is now different.  On top of typical parenting, you have the added challenge of learning about an unfamiliar diagnosis, trying to understand what your child can or can’t see, and juggling appointments with a range of doctors and specialists.  If you are like most parents of a child who is blind or partially sighted, you feel like you are the only one with these types of parenting challenges and considerations. 

This is a safe and supportive place to connect with other parents who have a first-hand understanding of what you are going through.  Over eight consecutive weeks, parents are invited to come together in the Blind Beginnings Zoom room to talk through many of the common challenges they are facing.

Group 1
For parents of children birth to five
Tuesdays from 7:30 – 9:00 pm PST
January 25, February 1, 8, 15, 22 and March 1, 2022

Some topics we will explore include:

  • Concerns about how your child will do in daycare, pre-school, and Kindergarten
  • Worries about your child falling behind in their developmental milestones
  • Reactions of extended family and friends towards your child’s visual impairment
  •  Frustrations with society’s lowered expectations for your child
  • Worries that your child will have trouble making friends
  • Dealing with staring, questions and ignorant comments about your child’s vision
  • Celebrating with parents who appreciate the effort required for your child’s successes

Group 2
For parents of school aged children and youth
Tuesdays from 7:30 – 9:00 pm PST
September 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25, and November 1, 2022

Some topics we will explore include:

  • Concerns that your child is not getting enough time for learning vision related skills
  • Fears of letting your child travel independently
  • Feeling inadequate to teach your blind or partially sighted child how to cook, clean, and take care of themselves
  • Worries about your child’s future employment prospects
  • Dealing with negative attitudes about blindness from others in your child’s life
  • Wondering how to teach your child about sexual health and preparing for puberty
  • Feeling conflicted about wanting to encourage independence and keep your child safe

**Seeing Things Differently Youth Support Group**
Youth who are blind or partially sighted between the ages of 14 and 18 are invited to participate in our Virtual Seeing Things Differently Youth Support Group

You are blind or partially sighted, and that means that in many ways, your day-to-day experience differs from that of a fully sighted person. On top of the typical stresses of being a teenager, you have the added challenge of learning to do things differently in an often inaccessible world.

Likely in your day to day life, you are not surrounded by other people who are blind or partially sighted, and as a result you are the only one doing things in a different way at school, at work, or in your family.

By joining us for the Seeing Things Differently Youth Support Group, you will have the opportunity to connect with other youth who are blind or partially sighted in a safe and comfortable place, to share concerns that are likely less common amongst your sighted friends.

For youth 14 – 18 years
Thursday afternoons from 4:00 – 5:30 pm PST
January 13, 20, 27, February 3, 10, 17, 24, and March 3, 2022

Some topics we will explore include:

  • Feeling different at school
  • Mixed feelings about being more independent
  • Over protective parents
  • Insecurities about friendships and dating
  • What am I going to be when I grow up?
  • Always educating and advocating
  • What are my strengths?

Virtual Meetings

We will use Zoom Conferencing for these support group meetings.  Zoom is private and confidential and allows you to connect through video and audio from your smart phone or computer.  It is required that you are able to connect in a room that is quiet and private, and you do need to ensure that your device has a working camera.

Group Facilitators

The groups will be facilitated by Registered Clinical Counsellor Shawn Marsolais and a co-facilitator TBA.
Shawn Marsolais is a Registered Clinical Counsellor who has been working with children & youth who are blind or partially sighted for over twenty years.  She completed her Masters of Education in Vocational Rehabilitation Counselling in 2012, and has been offering individual counselling and facilitating Parent and youth Support Groups through Blind Beginnings since then.  Shawn was born with a degenerative eye-condition that caused her vision to deteriorate throughout her childhood.  She understands firsthand the challenges youth and families face when coming to terms with a permanent diagnosis.  Shawn also works part-time doing individual counselling in private practice through Denis Boyd & Associates in Coquitlam.  

How to register

If you would like to participate in any of these Seeing Things Differently Support Groups, please send an email to shawn@blindbeginnings.ca

Deadline to register for the Seeing Things Differently Parents Support Groups is Monday, January 17th 2022.

Deadline to register for the Seeing Things Differently Youth Support Group is Monday, January 10th, 2022.

Please include youth and parent’s name, email address, and phone number.

Please Note: The expectation is that you attend all eight sessions. Space is limited and registrations will not be accepted after the first group meeting.

All participants must be members of Blind Beginnings.  If you would like to become a member, please visit www.blindbeginnings.ca.  The cost is $20.