BLENNZ is a national school that provides a network of education services to approximately 1500 learners, birth to 21 years who are blind, deafblind or have low vision with staff located across 14 Visual Resource Centres in New Zealand.
Our mission is to provide quality education and specialist teaching services for children and young people who are blind, deafblind or have low vision. Continue Reading →
Not wanting to or able to engage or follow tasks involving movement or seeing.
Opting out of doing things normally fun for their age group.
Unable to follow movement directions.
Being lost in space.
Not seeing well early on can lead to risks in all movement areas because the world is scary!
Figure 11 – A blurred image of steps in a school playground
Would we want to move when steps look like this?
So kids with a vision impairment often don’t learn about their bodies and space and master their worlds as easily as their peers.
Especially if they have other disabilities, like being in a wheelchair.
So movement is ESPECIALLY important for kids with vision impairment.
Motor play is a fun way to develop
Strength, endurance fitness.
Control over self and environment.
Ability to use vision you have better.
Interactive and communication skills.
The ability to plan ahead.
These are all areas not seeing well can impact on.
Figure 12 – Child and adult laying on an airbed, playing
So what is the sensory part and why is it important?
We learn about our body and how it moves primarily via seeing it and feeling how it moves.
When we can’t see it well we need to rely more on the ‘feeling it’ part.
We FEEL how our body and its parts move most precisely and clearly when we move it ourselves with our body weight on it – this is through our proprioceptive sense.
Figure 13 – An adult holding a child’s legs on an airbed helping the child to sense movement of their body
Developed by weight bearing or resistance play, such as crawling, climbing, push pull games.
The firm pressure helps our brain to learn about our body and how to move it efficiently to get what we want and where we want. Try waving your arm in the air and ‘feeling’ where it is. Then push down on it gently. The feeling of where it is, is clearer!
Figure 14 – Making a ‘sandwich’ of the person
Think of a baby. He…
Learns about his arms and how to move them with greater control via:
First propping or putting weight through the shoulder and arms and hands over and over again. His brain is learning how to use his muscles and arms to push up. He then learns how to crawl by repeatedly weight bearing through his arms and legs, teaching his brain how to move their bits in increasingly efficient ways to get to the position and place he wants to get to!
This weight bearing sends great message to the brain about how to move better and better!
Figure 15 – Crawling on a hard floor
Figure 16 – Crawling on soft matting in a playground
We can use this proprioceptive sense to help the kids with vision impairment learn their body image. They can learn about how their body moves, even when they can’t move much themselves – by this firm sense of pressure.
Figure 17 – An O&M instructor helping the child to sense movement
NB: Always check with the team involved with the student before commencing any motor programming.
More proprioception play ideas
Pushing yourself on an office chair.
Playing in a tunnel or blanket wrapping.
Playing push n shove game.
Playing animals in a zoo.
Doing tasks at home.
Figure 18 – A child in a classroom with their body across an chair with wheels, pushing the chair with their legs and ‘chasing’ their teacher
Figure 19 – Cleaning up sand outside a building
Figure 20 – Climbing up a playground slide
The sensory part also includes the VESTIBULAR sense
This is sensory input that kids get from:
Hanging upside down.
Spinning and going round and round.
Figure 21 – Two children on a rotating piece of playground equipment
The vestibular sense helps to:
Develop motor skills and control-including reflex integration.
Increase arousal and attention/focus.
Promote exploring of the environment.
Control head and eye movements.
Develop use of vision (fixation, movement).
Define the ability to turn.
Promote language and emotional development.
Increase spatial awareness.
Increase attention to a task (i.e. stimulates, calms and sets brain up for attention).
Figure 22 – Two children on swings in a playground