Information and helpful hints for caregivers of very young children who are blind, deaf-blind or visually impaired
Transition to PreSchool
Transition to preschool for children who are blind or visually impaired is a big deal. Your little person is transitioning from the routine that parents set up to the whole new world of school. Here are two articles to help with this big transition.
Birthday parties and other special occasions are an important part of our culture but can be challenging for children with special needs. Parties are noisy, the setting is typically unfamiliar, people are talking and moving around the room, and unexpected decorations are hanging everywhere. There is a lot to make sense of for a young child with a visual impairment. Your child’s energy may be devoted to making sense of the commotion, leaving little left for having fun. Here are some proven strategies that will make birthday parties and other similar events more enjoyable for both you and your child. Click Here to read more.
Please discuss your interests with your teacher from A Shared Vision.
The Importance of Routines for Children with Visual Impairments. Routines are an important part of any child's life because they help children develop a sense of stability and order as well as give children the information and experiences necessary to complete tasks with increasing independence. They're especially important for children with visual impairments, who often have difficulty observing what's going on in the world around them. For more click HERE.
Routines: Tools for Your Child's Development. Darius, who's almost three and has albinism, was playing in the living room when his dad came in, carrying a yellow rubber duck. "Darius, let's go wash Mr. Quacker," he said. Darius laughed as his dad squeaked the duck and immediately headed toward the bathroom. As soon as they got there, Darius began pulling off his clothes and, with a gentle reminder from his dad, put them in the laundry basket. His dad then had him touch the water before getting in to make sure it wasn't too hot. For more click HERE.
BUILDING COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Teaching Empathy to Visually Impaired Children.Have you ever considered the value of empathy? We think through the words or actions we are about to impart and consider how our suggestion or contribution will be taken. It's the reason we know how to treat others; it allows us to know what not to say, and it allows us to contemplate how to present ourselves during a job interview, at a work meeting, in a recreational club, to a customer, or to a potential friend. For more click HERE.
Social Communication Skills. Successful communication depends a great deal on what we see around us. In the absence of vision, blind children learn to recognize what is in their world through touch and sound and the language input offered by others. The language that you use to support your blind child's understanding and to help build and support communication skills is more than labeling what you see. For more click HERE.
Talking the Language of the Hands to the Hands. This paper examines the importance of hands for the person who is deafblind, reviews hand development, and identifies specific teaching skills that facilitate hand development and expressiveness in persons who are deafblind. It notes that the hands of a deafblind individual serve not only as tools but also as sense organs (to compensate for their missing vision and hearing) and as the primary means of expression. For more click HERE.
Hand-Under-Hand and Hand-Over-Hand Instruction for Blind Babies. If your child has a visual impairment, she can use the senses of touch, hearing, and smell to obtain information that typically sighted children gather visually. To help her learn about the world and the things in it, try to involve all her senses when you are engaged with her and explaining something new. For more click HERE.
Albinismis an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. In the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. For more click HERE.
Amblyopia is the condition where one eye has not developed vision as fast or as completely as the fellow eye. The eye with the poorer vision is called the amblyopic eye; it is commonly referred to as "lazy eye." Usually only one eye is affected by amblyopia. For more click HERE.
Coloboma is a congenital defect in the structure of either the eyelid or the eye. For more click HERE.
Microphthalmia is a condition in which one or both eyes are unusually small. An individual with microphthalmia may have accompanying birth defects, as microphthalmia is a genetic mutation. For more click HERE.
Strabismus is characterized by unequal action of the six extraocular eye muscles, causing a misalignment of the eyes. The imbalance may be of the horizontal or vertical axis and results in difficulties with functional vision. For more click HERE.
Choosing Glasses for Your Child - The Perfect Fit.Glasses that fit well will stay put, encouraging your child to look through the appropriate part of the lens. They are more comfortable, which encourages compliance, and frankly they look more attractive. For more click HERE.
Choosing Glasses for Your Child - Lens, Materials.Warranties can be a life saver for many families. Glasses – especially glasses worn by children – can be broken, lost, or damaged easily, and they need to be replaced. Many children have frequent prescription changes, especially in the first couple of years of getting glasses. For more click HERE.
How Will I Ever Get My Child to Wear Glasses? If your child has a visual impairment, chances are they’ll have a prescription for glasses. You may be wondering, “How on earth am I ever going to convince my child to keep glasses on their face?” The teachers from A Shared Vision get this question all the time. Here are some of their tips on how to get a child with a visual impairment to wear glasses. For more click HERE.
Early & Emergent LITERACY
Cozying Up to Literacy: Getting Started with Interaction and Bonding. Learning to read, like learning language, begins the moment we’re born. They are immersive processes. A child learns through sensory-rich experiences with words like warm, sour, soft, and bouncy mean. It is playing on the floor with the family pets that teaches her the difference between Ruffin’s “dogness” and Fluffy’s “catness.” How does this immersion begin? For more click HERE.
Reading Tips for Parents of Babies. It’s never too early to read to your baby. As soon as your baby is born, he or she starts learning. Just by talking to, playing with, and caring for your baby every day, you help your baby develop language skills necessary to become a reader. For more click HERE (English) or HERE (Spanish).
10 Tips to Introduce Reading to a Young Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired. One of the first and most important things to remember when introducing books and literacy experiences to a young child with a visual impairment is that the child is a child first. While there are certain tips and techniques that will make reading more meaningful and pleasurable for children who are blind or visually impaired, many of the same principles apply to ALL children.For more click HERE.
How to Make an Experience Book. Children who are blind or visually impaired develop meaningful concepts through experiences. While a child with sight might understand what a dog is by an illustration in a book, a child who is blind or visually impaired might need to pet a dog and hear it bark. For more click HERE.
Let’s Make a Texture Book. Early literacy begins in the first three years of a child’s life. A texture book is a simple solution and they’re easy to make yourself. It might become your child’s favorite book! For more click HERE.
Early Emergent Literacy. Literacy begins at birth and builds on relationships and experiences that occur during infancy and early childhood. It takes intentional planning to provide meaningful early learning experiences on which to build literacy skills. Here are seven suggestions of "what to do" and "things to consider." For more click HERE.
Easy to Create Story Boxes. A Story Box is a way for young children with visual impairments to experience a story. It is an early literacy event that can easily fit into your daily routines as well as a tool to enhance the learning of concepts. It's a fun, interactive learning experience for children and adults alike. For more click HERE.
Making a Story Box. Making a story box is fun and easy! Here are three steps for you to enjoy a story box with your child. For more click HERE.
ORIENTATION & MOBILITY
Orientation and Mobility. Orientation and Mobility (O&M) includes the skills needed to orient to surroundings and to move independently and safely in the environment. To learn and master these skills, children who are blind or visually impaired commonly work with an O&M specialist from infancy through late adolescence. For more click HERE.
Grasp and Hand Skills for Infants with Visual Impairments. Developing your baby’s use of their hands is very important because your baby cannot see. Hand skills will allow your baby to progress in an orderly sequence from feeling their own clothing and your face and body as you hold your baby, to picking up objects and exploring them in detail with their fingers.
Transition to PreSchool
Parents’ Tips on Getting Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired Ready for Preschool. Transition to preschool for children who are blind or visually impaired is a big deal. Your little person is transitioning from the routine that parents set up to the whole new world of school. I’ve worked with a number of parents over many years who have made discoveries about how to navigate the transition experience. Here are some of their thoughts. For more click HERE.
Pre-Preschool Anxiety for Parents of Toddlers Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired. If you’re thinking, “I just can’t put her on a bus and send her away for half the day,” you’re not alone. The very thought of being separated from their three-year-old makes many parents uncomfortable. Add to that the anxiety of knowing their child will be in an unfamiliar environment, and it’s not hard to understand their feelings. For more click HERE. (For Spanish click HERE.)