Research Links

Recommended Practices in Early Childhood

A Relationship-Based Approach to Early Intervention   This article discusses the emphasis on and importance of including family members as a central component to early intervention services provided by professionals.

Early Intervention Practitioner Approaches to Natural Early Interventions   Practitioner beliefs about and understanding of natural environment interventions were examined. Sixteen early intervention practitioners from two programs in a southeastern state were interviewed about their understanding and use of natural environments as sources of learning opportunities for young children.

Natural  Learning Opportunities for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers   This article describes how to identify sources of children’s learning opportunities, how families and practitioners can work together to choose natural learning environments as a source of learning opportunities, how to use children’s interests for involving them in everyday learning opportunities, and how an intervention plan can increase learning opportunities.

Nature that Won’t Nurture: How Ideology Can Thwart Early Intervention for Young Children with Vision Loss and the Response That’s Needed   The article discusses the provision of early intervention services to children with vision loss in the U.S. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has required early childhood intervention services to be provided in so-called natural environments, which are settings that also include children without disabilities. Inclusionists’ emphasis on integration at the expense of specialized services is getting renewed attention.

PIWI: Enhancing Parent-Child Interaction as a Foundation for Early Intervention   This article describes an early intervention model for enhancing developmental opportunities for a child with a disability by expanding on and strengthening the parent-child relationship in a group environment.

Side by Side: Transdisciplinary Early Intervention in Natural Environments   This article discusses the importance of including families in the goal and decision-making process in their child’s early intervention program. It stresses a collaborative relationship and one in which the parents feel empowered to play an active role in their child’s services.

Using Routines-Based Interventions in Early Childhood Special Education   This article discusses how early childhood educators can embed developmental interventions into daily routines as well as how families and teachers can partner to promote the development of young children with special needs.

Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment

Cortical or Cerebral Visual Impairment in Children: A Brief Overview   In this commentary, Dr. Lueck discusses what a CVI is, the origins of CVI, how to identify a CVI in children, characteristics of children with CVI, its affect on the child and family members, major educational issues related to CVIs, and the importance of diagnosing a child with a CVI early in the intervention plan.  This is a great article to use as a “refresher” of how a professional in the field of visual impairments can best connect to a child with this complex additional impairment.

The Effects of Training on a Young Child  with Cortical Visual Impairment: An Exploratory Study    This exploratory study investigated the effects of the components of visual environmental management, visual skills training, and visually dependent task training on the performance of visual behaviors of a toddler with multiple disabilities including cortical visual impairment. Training components were implemented by the mother during daily routines.

Visual Attention to Movement and Color in Children with Cortical Visual Impairment   This study investigated the ability of color and motion to elicit and maintain visual attention in a sample of children with cortical visual impairment (CVI). It found that colorful and moving objects may be used to engage children with CVI, increase their motivation to use their residual vision, and promote visual learning.


The Assessment of Cognitive Development in Blind Infants and Preschoolers   This study evaluated the Bielefeld Developmental Test for Blind Infants and Preschoolers by comparing cognitive performance of blind and sighted children (ages three and four). Results indicated that even this test (with “blind-neutral” items) did not permit a fair comparative assessment, though it did prove suitable for within-group rating of blind children.


Creating and Using Tactile Experience Books for Young Children with Visual Impairments   This article explores how tactile experience books can be used to ensure that young children with visual impairments learn to read. It discusses making tactile experience books by collecting artifacts and gluing them to cardboard pages, and the benefits of tactile books. Descriptions of two tactile books are provided.

Developmental Stages of Reading Processes in Children Who Are Blind and Sighted   This article compares the development of print and braille reading in children who are blind and sighted in relation to Chall’s stage model of reading development. Of the 5 stages listed, Stage 0 is of particular relevance to early interventionists, as it discusses the prereading period.

Emergent Literacy Supports for Students Who Are Deaf- Blind or Have Visual and Multiple Impairments: A Multiple-Case Study  (Abstract taken from article)   Seven classrooms of students with deaf-blindness or visual and multiple impairments were observed to document the emergent literacy supports that were present, including environmental characteristics, strategies, or activities. The findings revealed that the majority of classrooms used emergent literacy supports that were previously documented for students without disabilities.

Parents’ Perceptions of Professional Support for the Emergent Literacy of Young Children with Visual Impairments  (Abstract taken from article)   This survey explored the emergent literacy experiences that parents provided their children with visual impairments, aged 1-8, as well as parents’ perceptions of the professional support that they received to facilitate these activities. The results indicated that the parents and children engaged in reading, singing songs, and writing or scribbling most frequently.

Development (General)

iStimulation: Apple iPad Use with Children Who Are Visually Impaired, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities   This practice report compares the iPad to the APH Light Box when tested on 60 children between birth and 3 years of age and its effectiveness in reaching several key developmental goals.  Briefly stated, the authors found that the iPad was better received and produced more positive results for both the children and the parents in fostering developmental goals.

Play Behavior and Play Materials of Blind and Sighted Infants and Preschoolers Analysis of questionnaires completed by parents of 91 young blind children and 74 matched sighted children indicated that sighted children engaged in more complex levels of play at an earlier age; blind children interacted less frequently with other children than did sighted children; blind children preferred tactile-auditory games and toys; and blind children rarely engaged in symbolic games.

Temperament and Young Children with Visual Impairments: Perceptions of Anglo and Latino Parents  (Abstract taken from article)   This study examined the temperamental characteristics of 18 toddlers with visual impairments as reported by their Anglo and Latino (Mexican American) parents. Differences in the parents’ ratings of the children’s temperament were related to the children’s level of visual functioning and development. No differences were related to the children’s gender, and only one difference was related to the family’s ethnicity.

Use of Activity Boxes with Young Children Who Are Blind, Deaf- Blind, or Have Severe Learning Disabilities and Visual Impairments    Describes the use of activity boxes with 43 young children with blindness, deaf-blindness, or severe learning disabilities and visual impairments. Discusses the contribution such boxes make to intellectual development, particularly the development of voluntary hand function from the integration of the primitive grasp-and-release instincts shown by infants.

Fine Motor

Divergent Development of Manual Skills in Children Who Are Blind or Sighted (Abstract take from article)   This study compared the average ages at which four children with congenital blindness acquired 32 fine motor skills with age norms for sighted children. The results indicated that the children experienced extreme developmental delays in the acquisition of manual skills and a high degree of variability in developmental delays within and across six categories of fine-motor skills.


Let’s Eat: Feeding a Child with a Visual Impairment  (Taken from abstract)   This guide for parents and caregivers of young children with visual impairments is intended to help them to teach competent feeding skills. After an introduction, a section on stages in learning to eat discusses eating behaviors of infants and young children with visual impairments at various ages. Examples of some specific problems and solutions are included. The next section discusses issues that may contribute to delayed development of mature feeding skills. These include diminished visual acuity, misinterpretation of a child’s cues, tactile defensiveness, lack of anticipation, repetitive movements, behavioral issues, related impairments, neuromuscular problems, arching, tongue thrust, and immature reflexes. Four organizational resources are provided.

Social Emotional Development

Mother’s Interpretations of the  Behavior of their Infants   This study looks at the behaviors of young children who are visually impaired as well as their mother’s interpretations of the behaviors meaning.  The study concludes that there were many misinterpreted behaviors and stressed the need for early intervention services to facilitate appropriate and meaningful interactions between the child and mother.


Model Registry of Early Childhood Visual Impairment: First-Year Results.  (Taken from abstract)   This study obtained information on 406 children from birth to age 3 with visual impairments at the point of entry into specialized early intervention programs in nine states. It found that the majority of children were legally blind and had disabilities in addition to visual impairment. It lists the 3 most prevalent eye conditions in this sample and discusses the lag time between the initial diagnosis of visual impairment and when the child began to receive services.

Personnel Issues

Assessment in Low-Incidence Disabilities: The  Day-to-Day Realities   This article discusses the lack of resources and trained personnel specifically in rural areas who work with children with vision and severe hearing issues and its implications in providing appropriate assessments and services to children of this population.  The second half of the article focuses alternate strategies and recommendations to deal with the lack of these two key resources.

Family Support and Early Intervention Services for the Youngest Children with Visual Impairments   In this commentary, Anthony discusses common challenges associated with early intervention service delivery including insufficient numbers of specialists and training opportunities, and the settings in which early intervention services take place.