BSS’s Children's Department

First Five Riverside County Children and Families Commission First Five Riverside County Children and Families Commission

WHO WE ARE

Blindness Support Services Children’s Department is here to promote the independence and self-reliance of blind and visually impaired children. Our goal is to address needs of blind and visually impaired children by introducing and implementing skills to mainstream them for kindergarten.

The primary target population of the program are parent(s) with visually impaired or blind children between the ages 0-5.

All services are free! Due to funding from “First 5 Riverside.”


WHAT WE DO

The program is offered in-home providing parents with training and tools needed to help prepare their child for entry into mainstreamed kindergarten.

We service families throughout Riverside County in-home, free of charge. Our Tactile Approach to Learning Program focuses on teaching by touch. We utilize multiple different mediums and textures to help enhance the learning of a child with a visual or sensory impairment. Tactile items are made available and parents can create tools that their child can touch and explore.

In addition, program staff provides instruction on safety for the home. Hazards that are often overlooked are addressed to make sure the daily living environment is a safe learning place for young explorers.


OTHER SERVICES PROVIDED THROUGH CHILDREN’S DEPARTMENT

Braille Reading

Pre-Braille education is taught and crucial to literacy for a visually impaired child.

Orientation & Mobility

Mobility instruction consists of learning proper techniques for cane travel in indoor and outdoor settings. We work with the Orientation and Mobility Specialist on staff and design goals for specific child’s needs.

Social Events

Workshops include demonstrations of ways to create sensory boards, touch and feel books and other tactile creations are provided during our Make-it-Take-it events. Social opportunities like Park Days, and Holiday Parties are also arranged annually. These events unites families in creating social connections and learn from each other’s experiences. We help and support parental resilience.

Teacher Trainings

Teachers, both center based and home based in Riverside County, can receive free instruction to better equip them to serve the visually impaired/blind population. Strategies to support inclusion will be outlined while state-of-the-art equipment and technology are also shared. These group trainings are offered weekdays, evenings or weekends to meet the needs of the teachers and facilities.


OUR STAFF

Marla Schmidt - Program Manager
mschmidt@blindnesssupport.com

Nancy Prieto - Program Assistanta
nprieto@blindnesssupport.com

Andrew Godoy – Program Assistant
agodoY@blindnesssupport.com


TESTIMONIALS

“Blindness Support Services has been providing services to our daughter, Avery, since she was 2 years old. Avery has low vision due to Aniridia and nystagmus. As she is quickly approaching the start of kindergarten, we feel very assured that she has received excellent preparation and is ready for her academic journey. Blindness Support Services has helped teach Avery kinder readiness skills across multiple areas of development. Avery is ready for kindergarten in the fall and it is in large part due to all her amazing teachers and therapists, including the amazing children's department team at Blindness Support Services.”
-CYNTHIA

“My beautiful daughter Chloe has been blessed with all the support and education she has received from Blindness Support Services. She loves her time with BSS, always looking forward to their next visit. I am so grateful for all your help. I just know now “The Sky is the Limit” for my lil’ Chloe. Thank you so much.”
-GILBERT

“Thank you for all your support and education. My daughter has enjoyed exploring textures, shapes and so much more! I have learned how to provide my child with the best approaches to learning and exploration because of Blindness Support Services.”
-MELISSA

“The Children’s Department has helped my daughter see that there are other families with situation like ours. She has developed more social skills since participating in the children’s events. Since working with BSS, I have learned that I can teach my daughter with something as simple as tongue depressors. I am forever grateful for all that Blindness Support Services has done for me.”
-ALFRED


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