As a child grows and changes, issues may arise around keeping the special eye in place.
Sometimes the eye will dislodge naturally. Most often, it is removed by a curious child who has learned quickly how to handle the eye.
Being confident and able to remove an eye independently is a skill to be celebrated, but children need to learn about when this is and is not appropriate. They need consistent encouragement as they become skilled at keeping the eye in place.
Why the Eye Might Come Out
After a new eye is fitted, it can shift and may need to be moved into place. Figuring out the exact shape and size for a perfect fit can take time and adjustments from an ocularist.
When a child is participating in more active play, the special eye may get bumped or shift within the socket, Rarely, the eye may actually be dislodged right out of the socket and need to be put back in its proper place.
Although this is uncommon, it is important to give your child the support and confidence to manage returning the special eye to the socket if this this happens in a public place, with or without a parent’s assistance.
Some children with special eyes are not fearful of touching their special eye. This comfort in managing and manipulating their own special eye is wonderful for cleaning and medical appointments, but can cause parents some stress and anxiety when it is repeatedly removed.
Firstly it is really important to praise your child for being comfortable with the special eye. This is an important skill to be promoted and protected.
Explain that there are appropriate places and times when your child will need to remove the special eye. When cleaning it or when attending a medical or ocularist appointment. If the special eye gets bumped or if something gets into the socket, like dirt or sand, and requires cleaning.
Write a short story or create a simple song together with your child about when it’s OK to independently remove the special eye. This will help reinforce when this action is OK and helpful, and even encouraged and celebrated.
Similarly, if your child regularly removes the special eye in a public place, you can also create a social story or songs about when it is not appropriate. Let your child know you are proud they can do this themselves, but that they are not to take the eye out at school or in public unless it needs to be cleaned or repositioned.
This is a supportive way to teach rules or restrictions about touching the special eye.
Set Your Child Up For Success
Punishing a child for regularly removing the special eye in inappropriate places can work against their continued comfort and success for removing it when necessary and appropriate.
Try to “help” your child be successful by giving him safe and appropriate opportunities to remove the eye, and gentle reminders to leave it alone in other places. Sing a reminder song you create about the places it is ok, and not ok to remove the special eye.
Praise successful visits to public places when your child did not remove or touch the eye.
Finally, you may need to practice some scripts, or things to say to friends or strangers, when your child removes the special eye in an inappropriate place.
“It is great that NAME is comfortable managing / touching his special eye, but we are still learning about WHEN it is ok, and not ok to touch it.”