What toys and games might be suitable for my child?
If your child has some sight, then choose toys that:
- are bright, bold and big
- make a noise. If your child has no sight, then making a sound of some kind is beneficial
- have a variety of interesting surfaces and textures
Because every child's needs are different, you'll need to experiment to find the toys that are best suited to your child. For example, some children can see better if a toy emphasises a particular colour, whilst others depend on good contrast in printed or graphic materials.
The RNIB Online Shop has a range of toys and games specifically designed for children who have a sight impairment.
It's a good idea to keep games and activities in the same place. For example, always use the same table for play dough or painting. For a small child keep their toys on a play mat so they can easily find them and learn to explore within a safe area.
How can play help my child to learn?
Young children learn a great deal by watching and imitating others. Children who have a sight impairment can learn through a variety of play and games specifically designed to help them learn about their worlds and acquire self-help skills (like eating and dressing):
- Head, shoulders, knees and toes teach the names of body parts
- messing around with over-sized clothes gives your child practice in dressing themselves
- a song like ‘The Hokey Cokey' can help your child understand the concepts of ‘up', ‘down', ‘behind'
- sorting games that use only touch. A collection of objects can be sorted by their different qualities: shape (circles, triangles, squares), rough or smooth, hard or soft, silent or noisy
- finger painting and colouring
Some children who have a sight impairment hate getting their hands dirty. They may find it unpleasant to touch wet or squidgy substances like Play Doh or wet foods.
When should my child start independent travel?
When they are ready. All children develop and grow at their own speed and this includes the need to be independent either in mobility or daily living skills. It is vitally important for your child to receive the training required to help them achieve the independence they need to fulfil their potential in these skills areas.
Will my child be able to go to a mainstream school?
This depends upon whether your child has other needs in addition to their sight impairment.
Many children who have a sight impairment attend a mainstream school. According to their academic interests, many go on to Further or Higher education.
What education support is available for my child?
Specialist teaching services are available to children who live in Kent, Medway and Bromley. These services are available from pre-school through to 19. They are provided by:
- Early Years workers who provide support for families, helping sight impaired babies and young children develop
- Qualified Teachers of children who have sight impairments who provide regular support in school settings