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Helping Children with Visual Impairments
For Child Care providers
Type: For Child Care providers   Skills: Health & Safety
From baby slings to blocks, there are lots of simple solutions for including a child with visual impairments in all your activities. Many of the things will look very familiar to you because they are things that most families already use everyday. Helping Children with Visual Impairments
What We Learn
Baby slings help children experience movement.

Gooseneck lamps provide additional light behind a childís shoulder.

Blocks and toys in red and yellow are most attractive to children with visual impairments.

Toys with suction cups help children learn object permanence.

High-contrast objects make it easier for children to see and use.
Supply List
Baby sling
Gooseneck lamp
Blocks and toys in red and yellow
Toys with suction cups
Placemat and cup in contrasting colors
How-To
Baby Sling
Children who are blind donít have as much motivation to move. If families would feel comfortable wearing a sling, they can include their baby in daily household chores and activities, which provide a lot of movement experiences. When the child is awake, the family can also be describing some of the things that theyíre doing in the kitchen or with the laundry and so on and itís a great way for the child to learn about their world and to get some movement experiences. Many children who are blind donít have the incentive to move because they donít have vision. Vision is what makes us all interested in reaching out and finding different things so this would kind of substitute for that.

Gooseneck Lamp
A lot of children who are visually impaired actually have some usable vision. Some simple things that we can do in the home, for example, turning on a gooseneck lamp behind a babyís shoulder can illuminate, make it brighter and easier for them to see some of the objects that they might be playing with.

Blocks and Toys in Red and Yellow
Itís important to try to get blocks or toys that are red and yellow because those are the two colors that some children with visual impairments at a young age are most attracted to look at. It increases their motivation to use their vision and it helps them to learn more about the world and become more interactive.

Toys with Suction Cups
Another useful thing are toys that have suction cups on them. You can simply attach them to the counter. The nice part is it becomes very predictable. The baby knows when they reach out that there is the toy. If theyíre doing something else, they know if they reach out, itís still there, whereas toys that are loose can easily move away from the child and then the child becomes busy looking for it. This helps children with visual impairments learn object permanence Ė knowing that things exist even after you arenít involved with them. Theyíre also learning orientation Ė how to find that things are in front or to the left or to the right, and so on.

Placemat and Cup in Contrasting Colors
A lot of children who are visually impaired do have some vision. Using high-contrast objects can help them use their vision. So, for instance, a dark blue mat with a yellow sippy cup helps the child be able to do things on their own. Theyíre more likely to be able to see the cup and to be able to reach out and successfully get it for themselves.

Finally, remember that a lot of the things that all children use are of interest to children with visual impairments. Think about good color and contrast, good illumination. You want to think about items that are real. When a child is blind, I like to use real fruits and vegetables instead of those plastic ones that kids play with, because it helps them get experience with real items in the environment.
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