By rolling, crawling or walking, infants and toddlers explore in wider and wider circles beyond their parent’s reach. “What happens if I go inside this box?” “What makes that sound?” When a child with a visual impairment feels safe and has a good sense of where her body is in space, and her motor skills are becoming more coordinated, then she will be eager to explore in a wider circle.
This is a stage when a child may get stuck under a table, or step in a puddle, or push her head into a toy. It takes time to explore and confirm by touch what is not clear to the eye. Very often, adults interfere and don’t allow the child to explore and discover on her own. If we have vision, we see the task immediately and forget to give the child “wait time.” This style of learning takes longer.
Developmentally, all children need to discover without being told what to discover. A child with low vision needs time to put together the pieces of an object that she has explored into a conceptual whole. We can support this exploration by talking about her movements in simple sentences, focusing on her interest.
Within the past five to ten years, an emphasis has been placed on the early O&M skills specific to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are visually impaired. Discussion of physical readiness, cognitive connection, and motivation invitation. (Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired)
The importance of “wait time” as a strategy to encourage communication and participation when interacting with individuals with deafblindness or multiple disabilities. (Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired)
Patty Salcedo, a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and the mother of a child who has a visual impairment, describes how the infant’s home or young child’s preschool setting can be set up for optimal learning. She emphasizes ways to help young children build new concepts.
The “Greenspan Floortime Approach” is a system developed by the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan. Floortime meets children where they are and builds upon their strengths and abilities through creating a warm relationship and interacting. Video instruction and workshop links.
Children with multiple disabilities often respond favorably to a different strategy for addressing their learning needs. Lili Neilson’s “ Active Learning” is designed for and reaches learners with visual impairment and other disabilities.