The Blind Low-Vision (BLV) Program, led by ErinoakKids, in partnership with KidsAbility, provides child and family centred education, services and support for parents of children who were born blind or with low vision so that they can support the healthy development of their child.

Services provided to children focus on acquiring skills needed to perform daily activities required for personal and social sufficiency at home, in early learning and care settings, and at school.

KidsAbility connects families to our Family Support Worker who specializes in helping them navigate the challenges of blindness or low vision. They can offer counselling; assist families in accessing resources and funding supports available to them; and can educate families so they can make informed choices about services and advocate for their child. In addition, the Family Worker can help families prepare for transitions, such as entry to school.

Potential Red Flags for vision concerns

  • Does not make eye contact
  • Does not watch or follow an object by 3 months of age
  • Frequent wiggling, drifting, or jerky eye movements
  • One or both eyes turning in or out
  • Holding objects close to eyes
  • Turning or tilting head when looking
  • Closing or covering one eye when looking
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Staring at lights and windows
  • Haziness or whitish appearance of the pupil
  • Drooping eyelids

To be eligible for the BLV Program:

  • Your family must live in Waterloo Region or Guelph-Wellington.
  • Your child can be any age up to school entry age.
  • You have obtained, or are in the process of obtaining, a diagnosis of visual impairment for your child which involves:
    • Visual acuity of no better than 20/70 in the better eye after correction
    • Visual field restriction to 20 degrees or less
    • A physical condition of the visual system which cannot be medically corrected and as such affects visual functioning to the extent that specially designed intervention is needed. The criterion is reserved for special situations such as, cortical visual impairment, delayed visual maturation and/ or a progressive visual loss where acuity and field deficits alone may not meet the criteria.

Referrals can be made by anyone; however the presence of one of more of the conditions listed above must be confirmed by an ophthamologist.

Referrals can be made to ErinOakKids Intake, Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call 1-877-374-6625, and press 1.

If you have concerns about a child’s vision, don’t wait. The sooner a problem is identified, the sooner the child can receive early intervention services that support the development of their functional vision and sensory skills.