How to Help Visually Impaired Child to Walk
How to Help Visually Impaired Child to Walk
Once your baby has learned to crawl, he will resort to this method of locomotion when he wants to go from one place to another. He will find, however, that when he has pulled himself up and is holding on to something to stay upright, he can move a bit if he continues to hold tightly to his support.
From this, he may discover that he can move his hands along, so shift his position, say from one corner of the playpen to another. To do this, he must move his feet as well as his hands. When he is at this stage and is able to remain upright for a period of time, you can begin helping him with walking.
Your child will not be able to imitate the movement of others by watching what they do. Even if your child sees some, he may not be able to tell exactly how a figure is getting from one place to another. This means you will need to be observant and take advantage of opportunities that will help him learn.
You have started by seeing that he can pull up, stand, has good strong muscles, and is not frightened by new experiences. He has learned to crawl to you as you have asked him to do; so now try letting him pull up by your hands, and after steadying him in his upright position, gently pull him, a step or so, to you.
Move him toward you with your hands held low enough for him to grasp them without having to reach up. This will help him balance without strain. Speak to him, asking him to come to you at the same time that you gently draw him toward you. He will wobble on his feet but will begin to move, and after much practice he will step toward you with great delight.
At the time you are teaching him to take steps, you can try a stroller or some type of walker. With this, he can move about, and as he bumps into things, he can explore to learn what they are.
Do not use this device, or keep supporting him yourself for too long, or you will retard his ability for independent walking. Instead of continuing such help, let him try a push toy that has a wide enough handle for him to grasp firmly. It will give him some support and a sense of security as he pushes it in front of him.
This is the time to encourage him to go from one person to another. Place your hands under his arms from the back and help him go from you to his daddy or another member of the family. Support him all the way at first, and then gradually lessen your hold on him so that he may take some independent steps.
Do not frighten him by suddenly withdrawing your help. Instead, let him sense that you are there to steady him if he needs you. Soon he will take some steps alone and eventually go the whole distance without your help.
Most babies start walking with their hands held out in front of them to help with their balance. Not seeing how hands fall naturally, or how to use them as he walks, a visually handicapped child may continue this practice. Try giving him a stuffed toy to carry. It will give him something to do with his hands and act as a buffer if he tumbles. Later, show him how to drop his hands to his sides.
Of course, you will guard him against getting hurt, but you must have the courage to let him go on his own, taking the falls and bumps that are normal for any child learning to walk. Such experiences are a part of the learning process. When he has a fall, help him up, offer a little comfort so he will not be afraid to try again, and divert his attention from his woe just as you would if he could see well. Guard against his being overly fearful that he will hurt himself.
If he senses your concern, he too, will be fearful. Too much fuss and sympathy over an ordinary bump can delay his progress.
Along with learning to get about crawling or walking, he is going to need to learn about sounds and directions. You will teach this incidentally as you tell him to come to you, go to his daddy, and so on.
You also, will want to give him directions consciously so that he will be familiar with the meaning of opposites, such as backward and forward, up and down, front and back. He needs to know right and left from an early age too, and you will teach him this as you dress and undress him, but now you will want to help him realize that it can mean direction as well as sides of his body. You should not expect him to really understand such concepts at an early age, but he will learn through repetition of reference to them.
He will need to become aware of sounds as a helpful device for orienting himself, and a way of alerting himself to what is near. He will learn to go toward your voice when you tell him to come to you. If you talk to him about the sounds in his home, he will gradually learn to know that he is going toward the kitchen when he hears sounds that he associates with it. If he hears water running in the tub or the toilet flushing, he can locate the bathroom. He will know too, that some sounds alert him about things to avoid. The whirr of the sewing machine, water boiling on the stove, and other identifiable noises tell him he is getting out of bounds.
There will be cues reaching him through his sense of smell too. Each room has its own distinctive odor just as articles do. If you mention how things smell and talk about odors with him, he will learn to pay attention to them.
Formal orientation and mobility training should not be given until a child is old and mature enough to exercise good judgment. Before ;t is safe for him to travel alone, he must be able to follow directions quickly and easily, make decisions without taking foolish risks, and not become confused and upset in an emergency.
Much of what he learns from you, and later from his primary and elementary school teachers, will be preparing him for the formal orientation and mobility training he will receive when the proper time for it comes.
This pre orientation and mobility training includes such learning and activities as: learning to distinguish sounds; reaching toward you or going to a sound; learning right-left, back-forward, up-down, north-south, east-west; becoming aware of himself in relation to where he is; obeying you when you tell him what to do.
Another part of such training comes in teaching him balance and rhythm; what to do with his hands as he walks; how to run, hop, skip, jump, and go up and down steps. As your child learns such things, discovers how to use his different senses to advantage, gains independence in everyday living skills, and develops an interest in the world about him, he will be acquiring necessary information and ability that will make formal orientation and mobility training a quickly and easily acquired area of his learning.
How to Help Visually Impaired Child to Walk Article Source : This article courtesy should goes to Guide for parents of preschool visually handicapped childrens by Dorothy Bryan.