PE CENTRAL

Adapted Physical Education

Parent Link

 

V I S U A L  I M P A I R M E N T S

 

Major Concern #1

 

Children cannot see dangers in their environment and playgrounds and other physical activity settings are full of danger for a child who cannot see at the level of peers.

 

Suggestion

 

Begin in your backyard by creating a safe area where you child knows boundaries and has landmarks such as a warning track around the yard. Grass areas with dirt or wood chip boundaries will help your child know where he or she can safely move. Also, make sure this safe area is free of objects that the child can fall over every time the child plays.

 

Consider tandem biking. First make sure your child can balance on the bike since his balance will affect the front riderís control of the bike. Using a balance harness with another adult supporting the child on the back is one suggestion. Ride real slow and let the child get the feel while another person runs along side and supports will help the child learn to feel the balance point. With some practice there are even tandem bike races in some areas. This is a great partner activity that you and your child can do into adulthood. It also gets parents out on the bike and exercising. Safety is less of a problem since a person without vision loss can do the steering. However, keep in mind that it takes additional skill for the front rider to steer a bike built for two. Do not allow inexperienced siblings to steer a bike built for two until you are confident in their skill. It only takes one fall for bike riding to become a scary activity. Practice in a safe area before you go on the road.

 

Major Concern #2

 

The child cannot see and this makes it hard for the child to understand games such as basketball or soccer where we learn by seeing others play.

 

Suggestion

 

Games such as basketball and soccer can be adapted for children with visual impairments by adding sound. Putting small bells in the pockets of other family members so the child knows where others are and also putting a bell on the basketball net provides a cheap avenue for feedback so the child knows where things are and when she has made a basket. Keep in mind, goal ball is a game played without site and the ball has bells in it so the child can track the object. This game can be played at home with as few as two people if a safe area exists. Pet stores have small balls with bells that can be used in a variety of ways.

 

Major Concern #3

 

Children with visual impairment tend to have problems developing play skills at the rate of peers without vision loss.

 

Suggestion

 

Again, as indicated earlier in the autism section, young parents of children with visual impairments need to go to playgrounds and see other children play and try to facilitate basic play in their child. Children with visual impairments lack the visual cues and ability to see others play making it hard to imitate peers and learn through social activities. Helping children from at an early age play by themselves, next to others, and eventually with others needs to be taught by parents. Donít wait until the child is old enough to communicate verbally to begin playing and exploring how kids play.