Parents and carers mistakenly believe that because they have a child who is either blind or visually impaired that they should only buy toys that have been specifically designed to meet their specific needs. This is not true. Just because your child may not see as well as your friends child there is nothing stopping them playing with the same kinds of toys. The majority of the mainstream educational toys that are currently on the market will be suitable for your child – there is no need for all of their toys to be adaptive at all. Every child of course is a unique individual and will have specific and unique needs but a blind child certainly doesn’t need unique toys – they can get just as much enjoyment out of dolls, bricks and balls as any other child.
Learning Through Play
All children, no matter what their developmental, social or physical abilities or limitation can learn through play. Play can be used to develop all kinds of skills that they will draw on for the rest of their lives. The whole family can be engaged with the child when it comes to learning through play, and even the simplest toy can be used to enhance learning. As the play progresses the child will gain confidence in themselves and their own abilities developing their sense of self. When a child enters the world with limited or no vision they enter a world that is vastly different from our own. Over time they will develop skills that allow them to see the world in their own unique way, but the skills that they need to learn to find their way can be taught through play. Time playing with your child and developing their sensory and motor skills is definitely time well spent.
Things To Address Through Play
There are a number of elements that you should consider incorporating into you play time with a blind or visually impaired child, that perhaps you would not normally consider.
- Mobility – The child needs to learn no move comfortably and confidently through his or her surroundings, and more importantly the need to learn to do it safely. Look for toys that are aimed at developing balance and co-ordination, games that involve movement and touch – things that will get them moving around and interacting with their environment.
- People, Places and Objects – Your child needs to know that they fit in, that they are part of a community and that they have a place not only with the family but also within society. Gone are the days when a visually impaired child was packed off to a specialist school. Right from being very young they need to be taught that they are valued and that they belong in the society that they have been born into.
- Communication. These children need to lean-to communicate clearly with those around them, they need to know how to make themselves heard and make their needs known. This can be done by voice, sign language, touch and through the use of Braille. Look for toys and games that promote communication and social interaction.
Visit Toys Naturally now and select from a wide range of traditional toys for your child this Christmas.