How birth blind children can learn and understand their surroundings.
When children are young they are learning to identify and label the world. Blind children are no different. They need to become familiar with the world,
too. Familiarization develops orientation. For the sighted child, vision puts them in the action. For the blind child touch, sound, and movement puts them
in the action, too. You cannot label the world for a blind child by touching it for him. To be meaningful the experience must come from the child’s own action.
When there is a blind child in a family, parents and other members close to the child should give the appropriate information and concepts, that sighted children naturally acquire by visual observation. Parents are the primary educators for their child; therefore they need to give additional time and attention to their special child.
Appropriate information include- (which things are around the child, who are there in the room or house, what coloured dress is the child wearing, what type of food is been given to the child etc.
Concepts of day and night, light and darkness, different colours and difference between shapes, structures and sizes should be cleared.
For children who cannot see, sound, touch and smell are the only three ways to learn the surrounding and various objects around them.
Parents should interact much from the beginning with the child to help in understanding the environment better. Telling them about those things which they cannot see and touch, like- (sky, sun, stars, moon, trees, birds, flowers and other animals etc, can be explained by models with proper descriptions. Children spend a lot of time in playing while seeing the ceiling fans or lights or pictures, calendars on the wall, colourful toys and other objects etc, with blind child parents have to compensate that time.
Blind children recognize people or things by their voice, sense of touch and smell. Gradually they start responding to familiar voices and sounds, which they listen regularly. Smell of perfumes or few other fragrances also helps the baby to recognize familiar people and food items. Different sounds of various toys, animals etc are very easily distinguished by them, they also recognize the common voices and touch of people, who attend them regularly and They feel safe and secured with them only. They easily identify the voices of strangers handling or attending them by their touch and voice. They identify people, especially ladies by their accessories, like- watches, bangles, ear rings, finger rings etc. Males are mostly identified by watches or if they have any specific extraordinary thing. They also can recognize the familiar objects which they touch regularly, like- the common toys they play with, [ soft or hard toy it is, whether it is big or small, even the shapes also, they can easily make out the difference between a new and old objects. They recognize them by the texture, shape and size. Parents should be very alert while keeping the child on beds or chairs etc, because they would not be able to judge the edges and might fell and hurt themselves. There are several techniques to teach the child about all these. A large portion of the child’s waking time is playtime and toys are skill-enhancing instruments. During playing the child is introduced to objects in the world.
Parents have to be very careful in the toy selection, because due to many hard toys, there is a possibility for the child to get hurt. Sharp toys should be avoided.