About the Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention program

The Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention program (Blind-Low Vision program) is available for families with children who have a visual impairment from birth until school entry.

The program provides support in your home and in your community.

If your child has been diagnosed with blindness or low vision, you can get support through the Blind-Low Vision program.

The Blind–Low Vision program offers:

  • family support
  • intervention services
  • consultation services

For a child with visual impairment, touch, hearing and the use of remaining or residual vision are important for learning and development.

Trained and knowledgeable professionals in the area of child development and visual impairment can help your child develop these senses.

Get a fact sheet about the Blind-Low Vision Early Intervention program.
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Get an eye exam

All children should have their first eye exam from an eye doctor at 6 months old. Children should have an eye exam again at 2 or 3 years old and every year after that.

Find out how to get an eye exam.

What services you can get

The Blind-Low Vision program provides support in your home and in your community.

Identify problems early

If you notice that your child has any of the following symptoms, talk to you doctor immediately:

  • swollen or encrusted eyelids
  • bumps, sores or styes on or around the eyelids
  • drooping eyelids
  • does not make eye contact with you by three months of age
  • does not watch or follow an object with the eyes by three months
  • haziness or whitish appearance inside the pupil
  • frequent "wiggling", "drifting", or "jerky" eye movements
  • misalignment between the eyes (eye turns or crossing of eyes)
  • lack of coordinated eye movements
  • drifting of one eye when looking at objects
  • turning or tilting of the head when looking at objects
  • squinting, closing or covering of one eye when looking at objects
  • excessive tearing when not crying
  • excessive blinking or squinting
  • excessive rubbing or touching of the eyes
  • avoidance of or sensitivity to bright lights

Early identification of a problem can sometimes eliminate or decrease the risk of long-term impacts.

A child who is blind or has low vision is at a significant risk for difficulties in all areas of development, including:

  • communication and language
  • fine and gross motor skills
  • understanding and thought processes
  • social skills
  • emotional development
  • self help

Family support

Social workers provide many family support services. They can help your family understand and cope with the implications of the diagnosis to make informed decisions about support services.

Intervention services

Specially trained early childhood vision consultants provide intervention services in your home.
The consultant can work with you to support your child's development in:

  • development of motor skills (for example, rolling, reaching, crawling, walking, and use of hands to manipulate and explore objects)
  • daily living skills (for example, eating, dressing, toileting)
  • concept development (for example, 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

Consultation services

Early childhood vision consultants will work with early childhood educators in child care settings to learn how to best work with and teach your child.  They will also work in collaboration with other community partners (such as, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, infant and child development consultants) to coordinate services and goals for you and your child.

Register

You do not need a referral from your doctor.

To register, contact a blind-low vision program location near you.

Blind - Low Vision Early Intervention Program locations

Hamilton, Niagara, Brant and Haldimand-Norfolk

Dufferin, Halton, Peel, Waterloo and Wellington

Manitoulin-Sudbury, Algoma, Cochrane, and Nipissing-Timiskaming

Kenora and Rainy River District

Ottawa, Renfrew County and Eastern counties of Prescott-Russell & Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry

Simcoe County and Muskoka-Parry Sound

Kingston and counties of Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, Leeds, Grenville, Lanark, Hastings and Prince Edward

Middlesex, London, Oxford, Elgin- St. Thomas, Sarnia-Lambton, Huron- Perth and Grey Bruce Owen Sound

Thunder Bay

City of Toronto

York, Durham, Peterborough, Northumberland, Haliburton & Kawartha Lakes

Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent

Get more information

For more information, contact:

Monitor your child's vision milestones

Babies learn to see over a period of time, much like they learn to walk and talk. They are not born with all the visual abilities they need in life. It is important to detect any problems early to ensure your child can develop the visual abilities he or she needs to grow and learn.

Consult your child's doctor if you think that your child is not seeing correctly or is having other problems with their vision.

By 6 weeks

Most children can:

  • stare at surroundings when awake
  • briefly look at bright lights and objects
  • blink in response to light
  • move eyes and head together

By 3 months

Most children can:

  • glance from one object to another with their eyes
  • follow a moving object or person with their eyes
  • stare at caregiver's face
  • begin to look at hands and food

By 6 months

Most children can: 

  • move eyes to inspect surroundings
  • move eyes to look for source of sounds
  • swipe at or reach for objects
  • look at more distant objects
  • smile and laugh when they see you

By 12 months

Most children can:

  • turn eyes inward as objects move close to the nose
  • watch activities in surroundings for longer time periods
  • look for a dropped toy
  • visually inspect objects and people
  • creep toward favourite toy

By 2 years

Most children can:

  • look at and then reach out for objects
  • look at simple pictures in a book
  • point to objects or people
  • look for and points to pictures in books
  • look where they are going when walking and climbing

What babies enjoy

6 weeks old

By 6 weeks babies enjoy:

  • looking at you while you hold them close
  • looking at toys with bright colours
  • looking at objects with reflective qualities (such as mirrors)
  • watching mobiles with simple black and white shapes
  • watching things that move

3 months old

By 3 months babies enjoy:

  • studying your face
  • watching toys move from the side to the front of them
  • looking at and reaching for objects hanging across their cribs
  • toys with bright colours and interesting patterns
  • using a night light in their rooms

6 months old

By 6 months old babies enjoy:

  • looking at their reflection in a mirror
  • looking back and forth between two favourite objects
  • seeing the world from different positions (for example, high chair, floor, other furniture)
  • toys that have complex patterns and toys that move (for example, jack in the box)
  • playing "peek-a-boo" games

12 months old

By 12 months old babies enjoy:

  • putting toys in and out of containers (and also in their mouths)
  • playing with similar objects of different sizes (for example, stacking rings, nesting cups, blocks)
  • looking at board books with thick cardboard pages and simple coloured pictures
  • pushing buttons or twisting knobs to make toys start
  • watching outside activities through a window

2 years old

By 2 years old babies enjoy:

  • reading books with pictures of simple scenes and objects
  • looking at photographs of family members and pets
  • playing with simple board puzzles
  • using blocks to play with and to build towers
  • makng trips outside to the store, the park, the library to watch people and activities
Updated: September 02, 2021
Published: April 19, 2021