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Parental vision

A portrait photo of Graeme Turner

They say when you are a parent that you need eyes in the back of your head. But how do people cope if they have little or no vision? DiVine spoke to parent Leanne Daniels about raising her family. Leanne faced many challenges raising her three children. Getting around with a pram was hard. She also often worried about losing her children. But Leanne has worked hard to be involved in her children’s lives.

Posted by: Graeme Turner, on 11/08/10

A close-up of a baby's hand holding an adult's thumb

Leanne Daniels encourages all parents to love and enjoy their children

They say when you are a parent of young kids that you need eyes in the back of your head. But how do people cope if they have little or no vision?

DiVine spoke to parent Leanne Daniels about the challenges of raising her family.

Leanne still had some vision when she had her first child. But she still found getting out was a challenge. Leanne says it was particularly challenging accessing buses and trams with a pram. When Leanne had her second daughter, managing a baby in a pram at the same time as an active three-year old was even harder.

Frightening

Leanne recalls one occasion when she lost her eldest daughter. It was pretty frightening, Leanne says. She was there one minute and gone the next. Leanne can always sympathise with other parents when lost children announcements are broadcast in shopping centres.

Leanne also describes another close encounter. She was crossing the road with her daughter in a pusher. I knew there were two cars there. I was walking in between the two cars. (But) actually one car was towing the other car. I hadn’t seen the tow-rope.

When Leanne’s son was born, she had lost her remaining vision. Feeding was a challenge, but her partner helped prepare formula the night before.

New challenge

Leanne was often concerned about her children’s appearance. She was so concerned she would change her son’s clothes every time they left the house. She did not want people to criticise her for neglect.

When her son began moving, Leanne faced a new challenge. She could no longer leave him and expect him to be lying in the same place. Was he going to roll somewhere or crawl somewhere? And were you going to stand on him? She eventually bought him some stylish slippers with jingling bells.

When he started walking, mother and son were usually linked with a cord. It was always my fear that they’d run off and I’d never be able to find them again, Leanne says.  

Love and enjoy

As her kids got older, Leanne gathered a group of supportive friends around her to help out if necessary. Her older daughters helped, too.

Leanne increasingly took on activities such as kinder and school duty. Teachers sometimes queried whether she could help in the classroom. But Leanne pushed past these attitudes and found some compromise.

Go with the flow is Leanne’s advice to other vision-impaired parents. She encourages them to love and enjoy their children. She says that it is important to support them in all their activities. She also encourages parents not to let others take over. Leanne believes there is no wrong way when parenting, just different parenting styles.

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