Children with vision impairment are building the same concepts as other children, but may have very different ways of doing this:
What does this toy do to me (not what does this toy do?)
Sound and timing
Sounds, rhythm and timing may be important aspects of play and exploration. So just as you’d offer a sighted child many different objects and colours to look at and play with, make sure you provide variety in their play soundscape.
Moving is playing! Many children with vision impairment play with movement alone. Learning how their body feels and changes in space – light and heavy, tense and relaxed, high and low – are concepts usually learnt with vision. These need to be experienced directly through movement. Big-movement play like jumping, rocking, sliding and swinging are to be encouraged.
Using hands to explore
Many children with vision impairment and complex needs dislike using their hands and some develop fear and resistance to touching new things.
So very little is gained by sitting children with a vision impairment and complex needs at a table and expecting them to play with their hands. Far more can be achieved by allowing them to approach the world in whichever way suits them best, observing their preferences and creating an environment that supports their developmental needs and preferred means of exploration.