This article, written by Tanni L. Anthony, Ed.S., is a good resource for parents of young children who are blind or visually impaired. This article highlights the importance of early movement for these children, and describes the beginnings of Orientation and Mobility skills. At this early stage of development, movement is highly correlated with cognition. Concepts such as object permanence, the development of means-end (problem solving) and the early constructs of spatial relations will affect how a child interacts with and moves within his/her environment. Motivation also plays a role in initiating movement. The importance of early movement in children who are blind or visually impaired cannot be overstated. According to Anthony, “The gift of self initiated quality movement in the early years is a priceless and lasting one. Early attention to the child's development from an OEM perspective can offer intervention at a critical time in the child's life.”
Anthony, T.L. (2003). Orientation And Mobility (O&M): The Early Years Of Infancy Through Preschool. Retrieved December 7, 2010, from http://www.tsbvi.edu/orientation-a-mobility/3228-orientation-and-mobility-oam-the-early-years-of-infancy-through-preschool
This article, by Vision Australia, depicts an account of what life might be like for a baby who is blind. The authors highlight how to develop security in the baby, by providing him/her with cues and prompts about what is to come. This concept relates to the importance of using language with these babies. For instance, the authors recommend using an on-going dialogue as you interact with the baby. Language can also be used to provide the babies with verbal feedback about events that have just occurred, which allows them to integrate the information that they are receiving from their other senses. The authors also discuss the need to encourage curiosity in babies who are blind. For children who are sighted, vision is a great motivator as it encourages them to reach and grasp objects and move within their environment. Conversely, children who are blind will need to be prompted to interact with objects that are out of sight and to move with confidence in their environment. Importantly, children who are blind also need to be encouraged to learn about their own bodies and how their bodies move in space. Yet again, language can be used to teach these concepts through games, rhymes and songs. The authors reiterate the above points by concluding that it is not only important to provide these children with different experiences, it is also necessary to provide them with the language to help them make sense of these experiences.
Vision Australia (2007). The Experiences of a Baby who is Blind. Retrieved February 21, 2009, from http://www.rvib.org.au/info.aspx?page=818