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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 Multiply Handicapped Children with Visual Impairment

Always be confident, even when the medical diagnoses sound bad. Your child can learn and evolve.

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Touch your child, massage him/her, caress his/her entire body.

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Carry your child a lot, snuggle and smooch a lot with him/her. Thus he/she learns how other people move; he/she senses your voice, your heartbeat. He/she can smell you and therefore feels secure and comfortable.

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Take your child for a ride with you often, and take him/her with you to run errands. That’s how he/she will get to know certain noises, sense wind, rain, cold, warmth and the vibrations while driving. That’s important for your child.

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Talk a lot to your child, even when you think he/she doesn’t understand. If you can, sing to and around your child. He/she experiences a lot through the sound of your voice and will not feel alone.

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Tell your child what is going to happen next and what you are going to do with him/her. He/she does not see what happens around him/her and therefore can easily be frightened.

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Do not just put your child on his/her back. He/she should also be laid on his/her side and on his/her belly. Support his/her body well, e.g. with a firm pillow that is not too soft.

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Swing your child, e.g. in your arms, in a bouncer or in a towel, held by two adults.

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When your child lies openly in a room, he/she might feel insecure. Place your child in a way that makes him/her feel comforted and limited, in a good way, by his/her surroundings, e.g. in a sofa corner, a bathtub, a large card board box or an inflatable wadding pool. You can also put pillows or other items around him/her.

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Hang noise-generating toys, e.g. a jingle ball (cat’s toy), crunch-foil and little bells around and above your child. Give your child enough time to discover and play with them.

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Give your child items to suck on or to chew on, e.g. teethers, children’s tooth brushes, natural materials. Your child senses things with his/her mouth, and will get to know things orally.  He/she will also exercise chewing in this way.

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Do not always switch on radio, TV and children’s CDs. Your child does not understand what these noises mean, but needs to listen for important noises in his/her environment (e.g. noises in the house, the ticking of a clock, passing cars etc.). 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.

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Do play music, e.g. children’s songs, classical music and current hits. Use the same pieces over and over again for some time so that your child can recognize them.

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Don’t always lay your child on a too soft surface.  Place him/her at times on crunching foil, in the sand, or on a board or plank, on the grass …

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Most blind children can still see a little bit. Try out the following things with your child: Put him/her for some time into bright sunlight, put a bright lamp before him/her, give him/her flashlights to play with, look for flashing or glowing toys that do not make noises or music. Hold or put toys about 10 cm from his/her eyes. Repeat and observe the child’s reactions.

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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!

 



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