Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program

Children's Centre Thunder Bay is the lead agency in the District of Thunder Bay for the Ontario Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program. This program provides services with funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services at no additional cost to families. Infants and children up to school entry, who have been diagnosed with blindness or low vision are eligible for this program.

The Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program is designed to give children who are born blind or with low vision the best possible start in life through specialized, family-centered services.

Family Support Service includes the involvement of a Family Support Worker, who will help the family understand the implications of the diagnosis and help them to make informed decisions about support services. Family Support Service also provides education and support for parents so that they can encourage the healthy development of their children. Parents will learn to help their children develop the skills they need for daily activities at home, daycare or care settings, and at school.

Intervention Services are provided by an Early Childhood Vision Consultant (ECVC), with specialized training in early childhood blindness/low vision. The consultant teaches parents how to support their child's development in the following areas:

  • Intentional movement (orientation and mobility)
  • Development of motor skills (e.g., rolling, reaching, crawling, walking, and use of hands to manipulate and explore objects)
  • Daily living skills (e.g., eating, dressing, toileting)
  • Concept development (e.g., object identification, function, and characteristics)
  • Social and emotional development
  • Language and communication development
  • How to make the most of residual vision
  • How to use all the senses to promote development

Referrals to the Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention Program can be made by families or any health care professional when there is a concern that a child's vision may affect their early development.

For more information, or to make a referral for services, please call the Access Network at 1-855-486-5037, or Children's Centre Thunder Bay at 807-343-5000.

General overview of Ontario's Blind (external link) - Low Vision Early Intervention Program.