Toys And The Visually Impaired Child

Toys for the Visually Impaired Child
Compiled by Bettie Antrim

• Should a visually impaired child play with different kinds of toys?
Although visually impaired children will most likely like playing with toys that children with normal vision like, some factors may make a difference. For example, some visually impaired child may have developmental delays.

• Why are toys important to all children?
Toys can help a child learn new skills, understand the environment and aid in self-expression. They also allow for social opportunities where the visually impaired child can play with other children.

• What qualities of a toy appeal to a visually impaired child?
The visual characteristics should not be a factor in picking out a toy. However, toys that involve other senses are good choices. Toys with sounds, different smells and interesting textures are often fascinating to the visually impaired child.

• What is important in establishing an environment for the visually impaired child to play in?

 An open and ordered setting
Children should know consistently where objects are in a room and where their toys are stored so the child can be as independent as possible. Another tip is to mark storage areas physically, for example a raised symbol.

 Experiment-Friendly Attitudes
Allow children to play with toys freely and without giving directions will foster experimentation and creativity.

 Share playtime with other siblings and children
It may help to show the other siblings or children how to play with the visually impaired child at first.

 Talk to the visually impaired child when playing
Describe what is happening in your surrounding to the visually impaired child. Include as many details as you can, but make sure to always use the same names or terms.

 Give positive feedback with praise and touch.
 Allow the visually impaired child to play alone.

 Books should be included into the play sessions.
Have touch and feel books available so children interact with different textures. When reading books to a child have books available in print and Braille and have the child follow along with the Braille when reading. Describe the pictures in the book while reading and have props or objects that are in the pictures so give to the child to identify.
Finding Appropriate Toys for a Child With Vision Loss
By Kim S. Blakely, PhD, Mary Ann Lang, PhD, Barbara Kushner Sosna, MA, SDA