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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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