Activities you can do with your blind or partially sighted child

Post date: 
Thursday, 28 July 2016

Children are wonderful in many ways. But growing up is difficult, and doing it with no or limited sight is even more difficult. If you're the primary caregiver for a blind and partially sighted child, you might not know where to start to help your child to develop all the early life skills that other children might be able to use their sight for.

One of the most endearing things about children is how innocent they are - they know nothing about the world, and are constantly learning. To do this, they rely on a combination of tuition by a parent or guardian and their own senses - putting things in their mouths, listening, touching, smelling - and seeing. So if your child is minus one of these senses, how do you need to adapt to ensure they understand how the world works? 

To try and answer this question, Amber Bobnar has put together a helpful guide featuring  advice that she's learned herself, caring for her blind child Ivan. You may find that even simple tasks, that your child would be able to pick up intuitively if they had sight, are beyond their understanding unless you guide them through the process. It can often be hard for your child to fill in the gaps or to fully understand what's going on around them.

Below is a list of simple activities you can share with your child to help them:

  • Helping out in the home - explaining the function of things, such as the washing and drying machines. 
  • Getting involved with cooking - let them touch various equipment, feel the difference between hot and cold, what food feels like at different stages in the cooking 
  • Using the phone - let them feel how to answer and make calls 
  • Get out in the garden - smell the flowers, examine the roots of plants. 
  • Make sure they frequently handle any animals safely when the opportunitiy arises - catching and releasing a bug, or petting a dog. It's better for your child not to unnecessarily fear animals because of unfamiliarity
  • Talk about money and credit or debit cards when you're shopping -  and how they work

These are just a few examples of the various suggestions Amber has come up with. You can read the full article on wonderbaby.org, along with loads more discussions and articles on various topics to do with caring for a child who is blind or partially sighted. Amber is based in the US, but her advice can translate to anyone who is a parent or guardian. 

 

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