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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 

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Recommendations for Parents of Blind Children

For a good concept development parents should give their blind children access to as much experiences of mooving, listening and touching in their environment.

How can I help my Child?

Recommendations for Parents of Blind Children

 

Your child can learn a lot, almost everything.

 

-        Give your child a lot of physical contact. Carry him/her more often and for longer periods of time, e.g. in a baby sling. While carrying him/her, make as many different movements as possible: walking, running, jumping, crawling, swinging, dancing, etc. Touch your child in a normal, not too cautious way. Allow the child to touch your face, show him/her and name the different parts of the body.

-        Do talk a lot to your child, even though he/she does not yet understand everything you say. Sing with your child, play finger games and say rhymes. By imitating, your child will learn to react to other people.

-        It is normal for your child to put objects into his/her mouth and leave them inside for some time. He/she feels with the mouth. Do allow and even encourage this.

-        Spend much time outside with your child. Go for walks or push him/her in a pram. Allow your child to sometimes walk barefoot, so that he/she becomes familiar with sounds, feels wind, rain, heat or cold and the surface of the floor.

-        Tell your child what will happen next or what you are going to do. Your child cannot see what is going on and may be frightened easily. Mention the names of any objects you put into your child’s hand.

-        Blind children move differently than sighted ones. It is quite normal that your child does not want to crawl. Allow him/her to roll along and later, to walk along the furniture or push a pram. Make a swing and a seesaw for him/her. Try to motivate him/her to move and to distract any fears.

-        If your child makes strange movements, e.g. swinging too and fro, this is not a sign of a mental disability, but just normal. Distract him/her and give him/her the opportunity to move, e.g. jumping on a trampoline or a mattress.

-        Give your child toys that feel interesting or make a noise. You do not need to buy expensive toys. Just put some household items into a box, e.g. a whisk, a wooden spoon, a brush, a sponge, a mug, etc. These objects are interesting for your child, and at the same time he/she becomes familiar with important items.

-        Your child should move a lot. Go swimming with him/her, use play grounds and climb and frolic around together outside, allow him/her to ride tricycle. Never frighten him/her, but encourage him/her.

-        Blind children especially need to be trained in how to use their hands. Therefore, you should give your child toys he/she can “work” with, e.g. soft modelling clay, board games, LEGO Bricks, magnetic games; let him/her tear and crumple up paper, put little balls into bottles, fill and empty tins and boxes, etc.

-        Show your child the world! Give him/her the opportunity to touch objects with both hands, smell them, etc. Go outside together, give him/her leaves, stones, cones, etc. and explain what they are.

-        Do not always switch on the radio, TV or CDs for children. Your child does not understand these things, but needs to listen out for important noises around him/her. (E.g. sounds from the kitchen, the ticking of a clock, passing cars) Draw your child’s attention to noises: “Listen, what’s that? Oh, it’s a ...” Tell your child what he/she is hearing, explain all the noises.

-        Many blind children love music. Do play children’s songs, classical music and current hits, or even better, make music yourself. Buy percussion instruments for your child or make your own music on pots and pans.

-        If your child has sleeping problems, they can be caused by blindness. Do not feel guilty! Instead, try to keep a regular daily routine and do not allow your child to sleep too much during daytime.

-        Most blind children can still see a little bit. Do support this by all means! Play with your child in bright daylight as often as possible, give him/her torches to play with, look for flushing or glowing toys that do not make noises or music. When outside, show him/her very bright or flushing lights. If he/she gets very close to the light, this is not harmful to the eyes!

-        Let your child do a lot of things independently. Just be there, encourage him/her and help as little as possible, even though it may take a lot of time. This is the only way for your child to become independent and self-confident.

-        Do use early intervention services, and ask the professionals all the questions you may have, even several times if necessary. They are there for you!

 

Authors:

 

Friederike Beyer

Blinden- und Sehbehindertenpädagogin

12105 Berlin

Email: fbeyer@gmx.de

 

 

Beratungsstelle für Sehbehinderte (BfS)

Bezirksamt Mitte von Berlin

Reinickendorfer Straße 60 B

13347 Berlin

Tel.: 030/9018 45246

Email: bfs@ba-mitte.verwalt-berlin.de



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