The early years are crucial for children's development. From finding accessible toys and games to supporting the development of social skills and learning we can help.
Getting access to the right support and resources.
As a parent or carer, your role in the happiness, development and progress of your child is huge. There may be a lot of professionals involved in your family life because of your child's vision impairment, but try to remember that you are in charge, and that your own instincts are probably right! You are the expert in your own baby, and the other advice and support that is available for you can fit around your little one as a unique person. Here we pull together important resources that can ensure you and your child receive the right support.
Early Support Developmental Journal for Babies and Children with Vision Impairment
Early Support is the government initiative to support families of children with disabilties. We have been heavily involved in producing the Early Support materials for children with VI, and other specialist disability charities have worked with Early Support regarding other conditions.
The Developmental Journal for babies and children with visual impairment is a key resource for you as your support your child in the early years. It is a toolkit that can help you to record the things that your child is able to do, and to suggest activities to help them reach next steps, enjoy toys and playing and how to encourage interests and new skills. You can download the Journal from the Department of Education's website.
The Journal is written to be kept by parents, but any other professionals working with you, such as the Qualified Teacher of (children with) Vision Impairment, health visitor or portage worker can also contribute their observations and reports so that it becomes a one-stop place to record all of the details about your child. You should be provided with your copy of the Journal by the QTVI, but if you want to get one now you can download it.
Growing, playing and learning
We have produced a number of guides to support you and your young child. Download our early years guide for advice on choosing an early years setting for a child with a visual impairment:
What to look for in an early years setting (Word, 163 KB)
Our Focus on foundation guide offers practical ideas for the successful inclusion of children with sight loss in early years settings including reception classes. It is written for all who work in early years settings but may be of interest to parents:
The following mobility and independence guide has information on movement in the early years for children with vision impairment. It suggests ways of encouraging mobility from birth onwards, including for children with complex needs. We also cover some ideas and tips to help you with teaching daily living skills for this age group:
In the following guide we explore social inclusion and social bonding at Nursery level, looking at some ideas to encourage blind and partially sighted young children learn to socialise and make friends:
- Social inclusion in the early years (Word, 171 KB)
- Social inclusion: social bonding in the early years (Word, 161 KB)
Infant massage is wonderful and supports the development of blind and partially sighted children, read our guide for more information:
Our Sensory development resource box guide, explores ideas for toys and resources which will be useful for early years practitioners, and also parents or carers, who are working to support a young child with vision impairment:
Our toys and play guide outlines the importance of play for children with a vision impairment. It describes different types of play and provides information on choosing toys and creating play environments to support children in their play:
RNIB in collaboration with The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) have produced a leaflet on toys and play for children who are blind and partially sighted. This is part of a series of BTHA funded educational literature. This is a useful resource for parents and professionals and can be downloaded below:
- Toys and play - Large print (PDF, 1.86 MB)
- Toys and play - Small print (PDF, 2.75 MB)
- Toys and play - Text only (Word, 238 KB)
Teachers and education professionals
The Early Years pages in our Education professionals section have guidance about all aspects of early years development.
We have put this material in our Professionals section in order to enable early years staff and childcare workers to improve their provision for babies and children in early years settings. It has all been written to be accessible and useful for parents too.
We're here to help
Our Helpline is your direct line to the support, advice, and products you need to face the future with confidence. If you or someone you know has a sight problem, our specialist advice workers can help.Contact Us