Activities for Children with Visual Impairment

Children with visual impairment face unique challenges when it comes to their development; however there are a variety of different activities that can assist visually impaired kids in developing important lifelong skills. These activities, in addition to proper schooling for visually impaired children, can help to foster your child’s advancement.

Activities for Visually Impaired Children

Because visually impaired kids often have below average strength in their hands and fingers when they enter kindergarten, this can pose certain learning problems for skills that begin to be developed at this age, such as reading and writing.

Whether or not your child will be a tactile reader, it is helpful to spend time with your child in order to develop arm, hand and finger strength, so as to improve overall physical strength as well as to build independent skills.

Arm and Hand Strength Activities
Weight bearing activities are beneficial for children with visual impairment as it helps to build strong muscles in the arms and hands as well as important motor skills. Some such activities that can be beneficial to your special needs child include:

  • playing human wheelbarrow
  • creeping up hills or other obstacles
  • pushing a wagon, weighted box or loaded sandbox trucks

Grip and Finger Strength
Developing grip and finger strength in visually impaired kids is also important as it can help with grasp patterns, which are important to everyday activities such as holding a spoon and using crayons, as well as school activities such as pasting, coloring and using scissors and building blocks.

Examples of these activities include:

  • tearing paper and fabrics
  • squeezing water out of sponges or washcloths
  • using a paper hole punch
  • opening jars or containers with a lid
  • playing with toys such as Lego and pop beads
  • simple kids cooking activities such as stirring batter, using a garlic press, cookie cutter, juicer or potato masher

Sensory Activities
Activities aimed at improving sensory skills are also a fundamental component of improving development in visually impaired kids:

  • touch: sorting by touch (texture blocks)
  • smell: walking in the neighborhood and listening for unique smells such as a bakery
  • vision: depending on your child’s level of vision impairment, this can include having a treasure hunt featuring objects such as large and/or brightly colored objects
  • taste: tasting games can help improve your special needs child’s sensory skills
  • sound: fun listening games include going for a neighborhood walk and listening for unique sounds (birds, traffic, airplanes) and Simon Says

Visually Impaired Kids Schooling

The majority of children with visual impairment attend special schools for the visually impaired that have special classes for those with vision impairment as well as unique resource rooms. These schools also provide resources such as outreach support and technical assistance and can help your child develop the following lifelong skills:

  • literacy skills including Braille and large print
  • technical and computer proficiency skills such as special software for visually impaired kids
  • safe and independent mobility skills including using specific orientation and mobility tools such as long canes
  • social interaction skills including learning about body language
  • personal management and independent living skills such as grooming and food preparation

Staying involved in your child’s progress at school is also important to your special needs child’s development; talk to your child’s teacher about any concerns that you may have regarding your child’s development and keep up-to-date on new tools that the school is implementing for visually impaired kids.

Talk with other moms of special needs kids in this forum.