Reach to Sound: A Springboard to Overall Development

By Tracy Wilks Of the myriad developmental milestones that children achieve from birth to the age of three, reaching to a sound stands out as one of the most important–if not the most important–for babies who are blind or severely visually impaired. Several researchers, including Fazzi, et al. (2002), refer to Fraiberg’s assertion that reaching […]

Unrestricted Babies:  The Need for Time for Unrestricted Movement and Less Container Time

By Jennifer Hoffmann Babies need to move.  They need to wiggle, stretch, rotate, and learn about how their bodies move in order to get stronger.  Experience with movement is key to the development of muscle tone (strength) in young children (Wiener, Welsh, Blasch, 2010).  Time which allows for movement is often of increased importance for […]

Development of Fine Motor Skills

By Rachael Dean This developmental essay will briefly describe the importance of fine motor skills with hands in children ages 0-12 months with visual impairments.  Although the hands are a major perceptual organ, an infant who has a visual impairment often has significant developmental delays in their ability to employ the hands functionally.  Even at […]

Tactile Defensiveness

By Jennifer Berg It is no secret that children born with a vision impairment tend to be tactually defensive.  Families and interventionists must work to encourage infants with visual impairments to tactually explore their environment. It’s understandable that a small toddler who has never seen the world around him wouldn’t want to plunge his hands […]

Reach Builds Orientation

Developing Early Reaching Skills to Build Orientation by Kirstin Peahl “Early motor development, I believe, is where most of the learned helplessness we see in our older students began,” stated Mickey Demalio, Florida State University Professor.  At the Southeast Orientation & Mobility Association (SOMA) 50th Anniversary O&M Conference, Demalio presented information on early childhood motor […]

Tummy Time

It is well-known that “tummy time” is important for an infant’s motor development. The term a physical therapist might use for “tummy time” is prone position. The benefits of practicing prone position include opportunities for weight bearing—which leads to: awareness of arms and hands, improved muscle tone, head support/ balance, rotation, reaching, grasping, and eventually […]

Muscle Tone and Development

Muscle Tone and Development When a Child has a Visual Impairment By Kateri Gullifor When working with an infant with a visual impairment, it is crucial to consider intervention strategies in order to promote muscle tone development. Many children with visual impairments have low muscle tone in their trunk or abdominal area (Ferrell, 2011). Experience […]

Emerging Fine Motor Manipulation

by Denise Jefferson There are four important fine motor skills that are prerequisites to more refined hand tasks. These include, grasping, reaching, releasing and rotating.  The first three skills are learned during the child’s first year and the last one closer to age two. Babies with visual impairments will acquire these same skills but the […]

Touch: Foundations for O&M, Communication and More

By Ana Lefel Tactile awareness and developing the sense of touch extends beyond a way of simply discovering and exploring a child’s environment. Growing this sensory awareness is a key component to foundational orientation and mobility skills, communication skills, and additional key areas of development (Ferrell, 2011). Orientation and mobility relies upon a child’s understanding […]