Alleviating parents’ fears

6 year old Akhilesh (name changed) was born with normal vision into a low-income family in Cochin, Kerala. A tumor was detected in his eyes, when Akhilesh was only 7-months old. He underwent an operation for the same but unfortunately it resulted in complete loss of vision. His parents couldn’t come to accept their son’s vision loss and hopelessly persisted in seeking medical help to restore his sight. Social stigma and lack of awareness pushed them towards a state of denial and unacceptance.

One of their neighbors learnt about Eyeway in a local newspaper and apprised the parents of our Helpdesk service. When they came in contact with the Eyeway counselor, it took about five to six calls for them to open up with the concerns for their son. The counselor could assess how his parents were fearful and uncertain about Akhilesh’s future. Their fears turned them into being over-protective and guarded around him. Their absolute ignorance of the possibility of a life after blindness made them see nothing but a bleak future for their son. But over consistent engagement with the mother and the father, our counselor helped them understand of the practical difficulties Akhilesh could face later in life unless he was put on a path to rehabilitation.

Eyeway counselor apprised the parents of the need for Akhilesh to become independent and learn new ways of living life as a visually impaired person. The counselor also cited examples of other successful blind people who continued leading wholesome lives despite their disability.

Emphasizing on the need of a good education, when the counselor suggested that Akhilesh be enrolled in a school, his parents expressed fear of their child being bullied by strangers. The counselor addressed their fears and recommended admission in School for the Blind, Aluva. The counselor reassured Akhilesh’s parents by speaking to the Principal of the Blind School directly about their son’s admission. This helped in easing their anxiety and the parents became more receptive to the suggestions made by Eyeway. Akhilesh is all set on join the school in June 2018.