Visual Impairment Inclusion: Adapting Play for Kids with Special Needs
According to the 2017 American Community Survey, approximately 568,202 U.S. children have vision difficulty — including those who have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses, as well as those who are blind. Adapting to special needs means learning and discovering new ways to modify your activities to be inclusive of young people of all abilities. In this post, we look at tips for visual impairment inclusion.
Visual Impairment Inclusion: Why It’s Important
Beyond safety, inclusion practices benefit young people with disabilities AND their same-aged peers. Children who grow up interacting with individuals with disabilities and chronic illness come to view these differences as a normal part of life.
Art Projects and Visual Impairment Inclusion
- Incorporate materials to make the activities more tactile. Add scents and textures to dough and paints.
- For students with low vision, present materials on trays of contrasting color and use materials that have good contrast in general.
- Guide the student’s hands to locate the “landmarks” with verbally associated descriptors. If the student needs to color an area, place the paper on top of a mesh screening or sandpaper so they get more feedback when they color.
- Try finger painting with finger paints, shaving cream or pudding to promote finger sensitivity.
Sports Modification for Visual Impairment Inclusion
- There are many ways to adapt tees for striking and kicking type activities. Instead of using a regular ball that is thrown or pitched, try a softer foam ball either rolled or balanced on top of a small plastic tube or even a paper towel roll. You can use a marker cone and balance a ball on top for kicks.
- Balls with bells in (or a balloon containing bells or some other small objects) are good for young people to help them track the whereabouts of balls.
Music Education and Visual Impairment Inclusion
- A tactile music staff with various textures for notes (sandpaper, cardboard, etc.), along with verbal explanations, can provide the student with some idea of the format of printed music, the shapes of print notes and symbols, and the linear motion of reading notes.
Approximately 63,657 U.S. children, youth, and adult students in educational settings are legally blind, according to the American Printing House for the Blind (2017 Annual Report).
One in five people has a physical disability. Understanding ways to adapt to special needs, like visual impairment inclusion, is an important part of ensuring that every child is able to play and have fun! CoachArt encourages an open dialogue about differences. Children have a natural curiosity to try and understand the world around them, including differences among themselves and others. Children learn to view differences with acceptance when adults model respectful behavior and acknowledge curiosity with honest explanations that children can understand.
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