Free AIOU Solved Assignment Code 677 Spring 2023
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Course: Independence Training for the Visually Handicapped Children (677)
Semester: Spring, 2023
ASSIGNMENT No. 1
Q.1 Define orientation and mobility. What is the significance of orientation for mobility? Support your answer with examples.
Providing orientation and mobility (O&M) services to visually impaired people with multiple disabilities presents an exciting challenge. It is especially rewarding when it enables students to achieve a meaningful life (personal, family, community and vocational) — a life which they and their families might not have thought possible.
The following principles may help when providing O&M to people with multiple disabilities.
Understand that multiple disabilities have more impact than the simple addition of each disability.
Have high expectations for success.
Be functional in the assessment and instruction.
Be creative and flexible, and design the program for the individual.
Encourage participation in the community, even if it cannot be done independently.
Find resources and information related to each of the disabilities.
Work with a team or in consultation with others who have expertise in the additional disabilities.
Multiple disabilities have more impact than the simple addition of each disability:
Each combination of disabilities presents a unique situation, with challenges that add up to more than the challenges of each disability put together. People who do not have visual impairments, but who are deaf or have mobility or cognitive disabilities use adapted techniques that rely on their vision to function. Many of the strategies that people without vision use to orient themselves, move safely around obstacles and on stairs, cross streets, and communicate require normal cognitive functioning, normal hearing, and/or good mobility. Many of these strategies are not feasible for blind people who can not hear well, or can not understand the strategy nor process the information, or can not move safely and maintain their balance. So when vision loss and other disabilities are added together, the impact on people’s options and their ability to function are not added together — they are multiplied.
Have high expectations for success:
In spite of the seemingly insurmountable challenges that multiple disabilities present, people who are blind and have multiple disabilities can achieve high levels of independent travel, often beyond the level at which people thought they were capable. People who are completely blind and have moderate cognitive disabilities are using buses and traveling to and from their homes and their work places or centers every day by themselves. People who are completely blind and have severe cognitive disabilities are independently moving around inside buildings where they live or work. People who are completely blind and profoundly deaf or using wheelchairs or mobility aids travel around the world by themselves. When expectations are high, students can be inspired and motivated to achieve their best. Therefore keep an open mind and let the student teach you about how much he or she can achieve, and encourage each student to reach his or her potential for independent travel.
Be functional in the assessment and instruction:
Students with multiple disabilities should be assessed within the activity and environment in which they naturally travel. Instruction should be done at the times and places that the student would normally travel.
Be creative and flexible, and design the program for the individual:
Standard “recipe” strategies and solutions that are successful for most blind people may not work for the person with additional disabilities, but there are ways to get around most challenges. Be creative and willing to try new strategies and ideas developed for the individual student with multiple disabilities.
Encourage participation in the community, even if it cannot be done independently:
All people have the right to acquire skills which allow them to function, at least in part, in a wide variety of environments and activities in their community. Experience in the community should not be denied to any people because they are unable to perform certain activities without assistance.
Find resources and information related to each of the disabilities:
None of us can be experts in all things, nor can it be expected that we know all that is necessary to work with all students. Thus we need to know where to get help and resources. We should know about professionals and agencies which serve people with other disabilities; sources of devices and equipment used by people with other disabilities; and sources of information. Work with a team or in consultation with others who have expertise in the additional disabilities: All students have the greatest opportunity for success when the O&M instructor works together with program administrators. When those who are responsible for funding and managing the program understand the students’ needs for O&M, they are better able to support and facilitate the O&M program, and when O&M instructors work with and understand the program administrators, they are better able to utilize or promote resources to enhance the O&M instruction. In addition to working with administrators, when providing O&M to students with multiple disabilities it is considered best practice for the O&M specialist to consult, or work together as a team, with others. This is because students with multiple disabilities have needs that are beyond the job description or body of knowledge that is normally expected of O&M specialists. It is unethical and often ineffective or even detrimental to provide services outside of our area of expertise. In addition, working or consulting with others makes the best use of resources, and provides support when consultants or team members suggest strategies and help brainstorm for solutions to problems. Sometimes all that is needed is consultation, where the O&M specialist asks others for information or ideas to meet the complex O&M needs of the student, after which the O&M specialist provides the instruction, consulting again only if needed. At other times, the O&M specialist works with others as a team during the entire O&M program. The team members assess needs and develop goals together, share expertise and ideas throughout the instructional program, and take equal responsibility for monitoring the progress of the student and reinforcing skills. Usually, however, the best model for providing O&M to any particular student with multiple disabilities is somewhere in between the two extremes of consulting and team work — some of the program development and instruction is done as a team, and some of it done by the O&M specialist alone, with consultation as needed. Which professionals are chosen to serve as consultants or team members to provide O&M service to students with multiple disabilities will depend on the characteristics of the student; what support or knowledge the O&M specialist needs in order to be able to serve that student appropriately; and what resources and personnel are available in that culture to students with those disabilities. These consultants and team members typically include physiotherapists; occupational therapists; professionals who serve people with cognitive or hearing disabilities such as special education teachers or communication specialists; travel instructors for people with cognitive, physical, or other disabilities; city planners and engineers; etc. Often, people who should be consulted or part of the team because they know about the student’s special needs are the family or staff who live and work with the student and who provide the student with emotional support. And of course, the most important person to consult and be a member of the team is the student. Usually, the professionals and personnel who are consulted or part of the team know little or nothing about blindness and what people can achieve without vision. The task of the O&M specialist is to:
share with the others expertise about O&M strategies and adaptations for people who are blind;
learn from the others information and ideas about strategies in their area of expertise; and
Work together with the others to develop solutions and strategies for the student to get around safely and efficiently.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 677 Spring 2023
Q.2 Discuss the daily living skills (DLS). How can parents help a visually impaired child in teaching these skills?
This study included a relatively large sample of participants whose DLS were assessed at approximately similar ages across multiple time points. In addition to exploration of factors previously demonstrated to influence DLS attainment (e.g. cognitive and language ability), this study included diagnosis (ASD vs nonspectrum) and ASD symptoms as predictors of DLS attainment. Finally, this is the first study to separately examine trajectories of DLS subdomains and to assess the role of early intervention on adult DLS outcomes.
There are limitations to this study that warrant acknowledgment. Foremost, significance levels reported do not take into account multiple comparisons. Because this is one of the first studies of trajectories of DLS development, we felt it was important to provide a comprehensive assessment of factors influencing DLS attainment to inform future studies.
Second, the present sample included participants with at least three assessments. Excluded participants were more likely to be African American and less educated, consistent with higher overall attrition rates of African Americans with lower maternal education in this sample (Anderson et al., 2014; Carr and Lord, 2013). Interpretations are somewhat limited by small sample sizes in some groups. For example, while inclusion of all children referred for ASD evaluation afforded exploration of the relative contributions of initial diagnosis versus demographic/developmental factors, the small number of children with initial nonspectrum diagnoses limits comparisons.
The relatively small size of the sample assessed at 23 years of age also limits interpretation of observed declines in DLS. Similarly, post hoc analyses were based on a small subsample of children in different DLS trajectory groups with comparable NVMA. Few children in our sample received early intervention; more recently collected samples may have higher levels of early intervention. However, it is noteworthy that intervention effects were specific to the mentored, parent-implemented treatment; receiving speech, ABA, and other types of intervention did not influence DLS group membership (data available upon request). Larger population-based studies are needed to better explore the influence of sociodemographic and developmental factors on DLS trajectories in representative samples.
Finally, this study relied on caregiver report of DLS and did not include a direct assessment of DLS. While the Vineland is commonly used for this purpose, it is not known how results (e.g. the shape of subdomain trajectories) may be influenced by the properties of this measure. Nonetheless, this study is among the first longitudinal investigations of DLS across childhood and into young adulthood and the first to separately examine subdomains of DLS. Thus, despite limitations, these findings provide insights for future research and clinical care.
Both individuals with ASD and nonspectrum disorders showed progression of DLS from 2 to 23 years of age. Individuals with ASD showed slower development of DLS than individuals with other nonspectrum diagnoses, likely a reflection of more impaired nonverbal cognition. Within the ASD group, although gains in DLS are made across childhood and into young adulthood, attainment is significantly affected by early cognitive and language skills, as well as severity of ASD symptoms. Early intervention may play a significant role in encouraging development of DLS. Nevertheless, results suggest that DLS should be a focus of treatment plans for individuals with ASD of all ages; even among young adults who have made the greatest gains, DLS were often considerably below age expectations. Future research is needed to investigate the relationship between interventions targeting specific aspects of DLS (i.e. personal, domestic, and community skills) and DLS outcomes, particularly for adolescents and adults with ASD.
- Clothing–Group long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, casual clothes, and dress clothes into separate parts of the closet.Label the clothes with some tactual means of identification that will go through the laundry safely and intact. For example, sewn-in braille color tags, crimped safety pins in a specific design, sewn-in number of buttons that means blue, red, yellow, etc., with a secondary means of knowing whether there are stripes or patterns to the outfit.
- Sock locks–Means of keeping pairs of socks together, during washing, or socks that are tactually identifiable from other socks, minimize the number of different colored socks.
- If a student has memory problems with these systems, the above mentioned taped, brailled, or large print list can be placed in an adjacent location, taped to the wall, on a shelf in the closet or in a drawer in the room. This establishes a pattern of consistency.
Food and canned goods:
- Labeling foods, canned goods have the opportunity to have reusable labeling systems. For instance, a rubber band, a brailled strip of paper with a hole punch, will allow a student to identify items in the cupboard, use them, remove the label and place it in a box for later use. This placing in a box also provides a grocery list. The labels can be taken to the grocery store and provide the list and place the label on the items as they go into the basket. This way when they return home it is already labeled while at the store.Planning is in large part an exercise in problem solving. The first step in problem solving is to realize that you have a problem, then to determine all the options that might solve the problem. Once all the options have been identified, then the options can be reviewed for disadvantages and advantages. Once these have been reviewed there are usually several final choices for one to choose from. This latter part is important for if another person is involved in solving this problem, they are always more receptive in working out the problem if they have choices. This system has been named SODAS. Identifying the problem is the Situation Options is the brainstorming phase, Disadvantages and Advantages is obvious and Solutions are the choices for solving the problem.
- Keeping up with schoolwork:Using a separate binder for each class or one binder for all classes with dividers that have been Brailled or identified with large print markings.
- For the student who has too many books to carry and adding one more binder, could make use of folders with pockets to hold their papers. Tradeoffs to this situation are the braille paper of the larger size fits in the APH folders, unless only 8.5×11 inch paper is used.
Record keeping in file drawers:
- Labeling foldersin print is good for the low vision person, using the Vis-a-vis or 20/20 pens for the name of the file. Sometimes it is difficult to write large enough for the low vision person to read the names while it is still in the drawer, this could be due to lack of lighting, ability to get close enough to read, etc. So it will be necessary to pull the file out to read the name. As they pull out the file they could use a large chip bag clip to affix to the file in front of the one they pulled out, this makes it easier to return the file and maintain alphabetic order. Or they could put just a wide object in the slot where they remove the file such as a book.
- For the braille reader, it can be a little easier, for reading the file folder name. When labeling the folder the braille should go on the back of the folder tab, this way the student can curl the fingers over the back of the file folder in the drawer and be able to read the folder name without pulling the folder out of the drawer. The same ideas can work for marking the place as it did with the low vision individual.
- The locker: Ideally, the visually impaired student will not have to share a locker. The lock issue could be solved by the use of a lock opened by a key, if a Click lock does not work. Be sure that there are two or more keys to the lock that are at the school not home. The same with the combination of a Click lock.
If possible, arrange for an extra shelf to be installed midway in the locker to offer more organizational opportunity for the student. Structure the locker like their day, the bottom could be for the books needed for the beginning of the day, the middle shelf for late morning classes and the top for the end of the day.
If lockers are not used, then containers of some type can be used for separating the smaller items and containing them. Zipper bag for putting the slate and stylus, specific pocket for placing the abacus or portable talking calculators, etc.
AIOU Solved Assignment 1 Code 677 Spring 2023
Q.3 Describe mannerism. How can a teacher promote positive mannerism in Visually Impaired Children?
Mannerist artists began to reject the harmony and ideal proportions of the Renaissance in favor of irrational settings, artificial colors, unclear subject matters, and elongated forms. Mannerism came after the High Renaissance and before the Baroque. The artists who came a generation after Raphael and Michelangelo had a dilemma. They could not surpass the great works that had already been created by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. This is when we start to see Mannerism emerge. Jacopo da Pontormo (1494–1557) represents the shift from the Renaissance to the Mannerist style. Mannerism is the name given to a style of art in Europe from c. 1520–1600. Mannerism came after the High Renaissance and before the Baroque. Not every artist painting during this period is considered a Mannerist artist, however, and there is much debate among scholars over whether Mannerism should be considered a separate movement from the High Renaissance, or a stylistic phase of the High Renaissance. Mannerism will be treated as a separate art movement here as there are many differences between the High Renaissance and the Mannerist styles. The Renaissance stressed harmony and beauty and no one could create more beautiful works than the great three artists listed above. The artists who came a generation after had a dilemma; they could not surpass the great works that had already been created by da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. This is when we start to see Mannerism emerge. Younger artists trying to do something new and different began to reject harmony and ideal proportions in favor of irrational settings, artificial colors, unclear subject matters, and elongated forms.
Jacopo da Pontormo (1494–1557) represents the shift from the Renaissance to the Mannerist style. Take for example his Deposition from the Cross, an altarpiece that was painted for a chapel in the Church of Santa Felicita, Florence. The figures of Mary and Jesus appear to be a direct reference to Michelangelo’s Pieta. Although the work is called a “Deposition,” there is no cross. Scholars also refer to this work as the “Entombment” but there is no tomb. This lack of clarity on subject matter is a hallmark of Mannerist painting. In addition, the setting is irrational, almost as if it is not in this world, and the colors are far from naturalistic. This work could not have been produced by a Renaissance artist. The Mannerist movement stresses different goals and this work of art by Pontormo demonstrates this new, and different style. Mannerist painting encompasses a variety of approaches influenced by, and reacting to, the harmonious ideals and restrained naturalism associated with High Renaissance artists. Mannerism is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities. Mannerism developed in both Florence and Rome , from around 1520 until about 1580. The early Mannerist painters are notable for elongated forms , precariously balanced poses, a collapsed perspective , irrational settings, and theatrical lighting. The second period of Mannerist painting, called “Maniera Greca,” is differentiated from the earlier “anti-classical” phase. High Mannerists stressed intellectual conceits and artistic virtuosity, features that have led later critics to accuse them of working in an unnatural and affected “manner.” Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance. It began around 1520 and lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to be favored. Stylistically, Mannerist painting encompasses a variety of approaches influenced by, and reacting to, the harmonious ideals and restrained naturalism associated with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and early Michelangelo. Mannerism is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities. There is an existing debate between scholars as to whether Mannerism was its own, independent art movement, or if it should be considered as part of the High Renaissance.
- In other words, instead of studying nature directly, younger artists began studying Hellenistic sculptures and paintings of masters past. Therefore, this style is often identified as “anti-classical,” yet at the time it was considered a natural progression from the High Renaissance. The earliest experimental phase of Mannerism, known for its “anti-classical” forms, lasted until about 1540 or 1550. This period has been described as both a natural extension of the art of Andrea del Sarto, Michelangelo, and Raphael, as well as a decline of those same artists’ classicizing achievements.
- In past analyses, it has been noted that Mannerism arose in the early 16th century alongside a number of other social, scientific, religious and political movements such as the Copernican model, the Sack of Rome , and the Protestant Reformation ‘s increasing challenge to the power of the Catholic Church. Because of this, the style’s elongated forms and distorted forms were once interpreted as a reaction to the idealized compositions prevalent in High Renaissance art.
AIOU Solved Assignment 2 Code 677 Spring 2023
Q.4 How body awareness help Visually Impaired Person (VIP) in achieving good body posture and appropriate motor activities?
Visual impairment might result in serious difficulties, because human beings depended on visual perception to get most of their information from the world around them. It might also trigger a psychological crisis that could promote an intention to seek “death,” as Carol described. In Japan, an approximately 310,000 people suffered from visual impairment. However, this number was only those who had a certified disability; there were more people suffering from visual impairment than were on official lists. Visual impairment was brought about by various causes such as eye disease, systemic disease, encephalopathy, and traumatic injury. Eye diseases include glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, optic atrophy, macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity, and so on, while systemic diseases include diabetic retinopathy and Behcet disease. Encephalopathy includes visual impairment caused by brain injuries, and postoperative impairment from brain tumors.
Bauman examined the relationships between psychological adaptation and a client’s visual, medical, personal, social, educational, and vocational histories, through structured interviews incorporating a comprehensive test battery. The segmented data from this study showed that their well-adjusted group (37% of 400 persons) was
(b) Mostly mobile
(c) Maintained satisfactory home and community activities
(d) Had a successful work history.
On the other hand, their identified maladjusted group (29%) was
(b) mobility-dependent on others
(c) Engaged in only limited home and community activities
(d) Had no recorded work history.
They were also able to show that the well-adjusted group demonstrated higher scores on intelligence, manual dexterity, emotional stability, and realistic acceptance of their visual impairment, and attained higher educational levels than the maladjusted group. However, no differences were found between these two groups on the degree of vision loss, health indices, or the level of social interaction. A follow-up study carried out 14 years later showed that these characteristics had been retained.
Joffe and Bast examined the relation of ego functioning and adaptation of 101 men with a visual impairment using the California Psychological Inventory (434 items’ questionnaire that include 18 scales. Each scale measures interpersonal adequacy, character, intellectual efficiency, interests, etc.) and extensive structured interviews. In this study, occupational status and mobility were used as the index of adaptation. No differences were found between the employed and the unemployed groups on measures such as educational level, age, degree of vision, and several psychological attributes such as defense and coping. However, by combining occupational status with mobility, the study examined the differences between accommodators (employed and high-mobility skills) and non-accommodators (unemployed and poor mobility skills). The researchers found that accommodators used extensive coping strategies, such as mature, adaptive, flexible, purposive, present-oriented, and reality-based behaviors. Accommodators also included objectivity, intellectualization, suppression, and tolerance of ambiguity as techniques to overcome visual impairment problems. By contrast, non-accommodators tended to rely on defensive strategies such as immature, non-adaptive, rigid, past-oriented, and irrational reactions, and used projection, regression, fantasy, displacement, rationalization, and doubt in their reactions.
There were some studies that have focused on the relationship between personality traits and adaptation to visual impairment. These studies were called disposition (or trait) theories. The first personality trait that affected rehabilitation was anxiety. As stated above, Dover recognized that denial was a defense to ward off anxiety; in the phase of anxiety, people with visual impairment often did not participate in rehabilitation, or reject to participate. They denied visual impairment of themselves because of anxiety. Moreover, anxiety resulted in lowered attention spans and decreased the ability to use cues of environment, influenced learning, and performance in personal rehabilitation. In addition, the learning of the person with high anxiety was slower, and the retention of what was learned was less. That was why treating anxiety was significant in rehabilitation for visual impairment in which Braille, mobility techniques, and the techniques of daily living were acquired.
Psychological distress and reactions to visual impairment were caused by the interaction of personal factors and social factors. Therefore, it was difficult to solve these problems by single intervention. Although acquiring independent skills was effective for psychosocial adaptation, group counseling combined with individual cognitive therapy could be the effective tool to improve social influences and internal self of the person with visual impairment.
Motor behavior includes every kind of movement from involuntary twitches to goal-directed actions, in every part of the body from head to toe, in every physical and social context from solitary play to group interactions. The development of motor behavior bridges the entire lifespan from the first fetal movement to the last dying breath.
Although movements fundamentally depend on generating, controlling, and exploiting physical forces, managing forces requires more than muscles and biomechanics. At every point in development, adaptive control of movement relies on core psychological functions. Perception and cognition are required to plan and guide actions3. Social and cultural factors spur and constrain motor behaviors. Motor behaviors, in turn, provide the raw material for perception, cognition, and social interaction. Movements generate perceptual information, provide the means for acquiring knowledge about the world, and make social interactions possible.
According to a developmental systems view, motor behaviors cannot be understood in isolation, divorced from the bodily, environmental, and social/cultural context in which they occur7. Movements are inextricably nested in a body-environment system. The body and the environment develop in tandem. New or improved motor skills bring new parts of the environment into play and thereby provide new or enhanced opportunities for learning and doing. Caregiving practices facilitate and constrain motor development. As a consequence, differences in the way caregivers structure the environment and interact with their children affect the form of new skills, the ages when they first appear, and the shape of their developmental trajectory.
New motor behaviors can emerge from a mix of interacting factors, some so pervasive that we mistakenly take them for granted, and some so subtle or non-obvious that we fail to recognize the link. Developmental changes in one domain can have cascading effects on development in other domains, sometimes far afield from the original accomplishment. Moreover, the context in which behavior develops can be very different for individual children, resulting in developmental pathways that sometimes converge at the same outcome and sometimes veer off in unique directions.
Posture is the most fundamental of motor actions. It is the foundation upon which other actions are built10. The instant that any part of the body breaks from the support surface—merely raising an arm while supine or lifting the head while prone—torque acting on the body part creates disequilibrium. This is why novice sitting and standing infants lose balance just from turning their heads or lifting their arms. Posture must be sufficiently stable to allow movements of the extremities, and maintaining a stable posture sets up the necessary conditions for looking around, handling objects, holding conversations, or going somewhere. As such, the emergence of most skills—including those not obviously related to posture—must await the development of sufficient postural control. Like every action, posture is perceptually guided and maintained.
Posture is the core ingredient of motor skill. With no postural control, most motor behaviors are impossible. The development of postural control instigates a cascade of new skills and opens up new possibilities for looking, social interactions, manual actions, and locomotion. Postural development is partly a perceptual accomplishment because even while sitting and standing, the body is always slightly swaying and perception plays a key role in keeping the body inside the base of support. Postural control emerges from the interaction of a growing body dealing with the constraints of the physical environment—gravity, air, the properties of the support surface, and so on. Caregiving practices can speed up or delay postural control and the cascade of new skills that follow.
Fetuses and neonates can produce leg and arm movements that grossly resemble locomotion, but locomotion is not hardwired or reflexive. Instead locomotor development is tremendously plastic and responsive to caregiving practices. And locomotion is wildly creative. Every infant discovers a unique solution for their first crawling, walking, bum shuffling, or rolling “steps.” And then they must learn to generate information for perception and cognition to find the right solution to suit the local constraints of the cluttered, obstacle strewn everyday environment.
Beginning prenatally, manual actions are perceptually guided and serve exploratory functions. Many of infants’ spontaneous arm and hand movements are co-opted for goal-directed manual actions and tool use. Infants use vision to locate the target of a reach and to preshape their hand for grasping, but they do not require sight of their hand to get it to a target. Exploring objects is a multimodal activity involving eyes, hands, fingers, and mouth. Boosting up manual skills can jump-start the cascade of opportunities for learning.
All the parts of the face begin moving prenatally, including the eyes while they are still fused shut. After birth, infants continue to produce spontaneous facial movements, but facial actions become integral to everyday function. The simple ability to swallow is critical for suckling, eating, and talking. Vocalizations and facial expressions are fundamental for communication. Head and eye movements provide the basis for visual exploration of the environment.
The study of motor development is really the study of behavioral development. As such, it can provide a useful window into general processes of development because the topic of study—movement—is directly observable. Researchers in motor development have always recognized the importance of the bodily context7. How could they do otherwise? Movements depend on physical forces and the moment-to-moment changes and developmental status of the body affect forces. The developmental systems perspective encourages researchers also to consider a larger context that includes the physical and social/cultural environment, and to view motor behaviors as potentially both cause and consequence of developmental change in other psychological domains. Although prominent developmental theorists have long recognized the importance of motor development for psychological development more generally, only recently have researchers begun to systematically map out these developmental pathways.
AIOU Solved Assignment Code 677 Autumn 2023
Q.5 What are the sources of information for exploring outside environment?
Inclusive Outdoor Environment
How outdoor space is structured and equipped will influence freedom of movement and appetite for adventurous play and its associated benefits.
Schneekloth (1989): certain conditions promote adventurous play among children aged 7-13 regardless of sex or level of vision:
- Real world objects (windows, doors, turnstiles, machinery, vehicles.
- Spaces divided into flexible range of occupiable units, accessed by tunnels, platforms and ladders.
- Careful definition of routeways, storage places and access points (through contrasting textures, sounds, materials and colours).
- Careful introduction to the structures of the play environment and their potential for imaginative play and exploration.
- Introduction to the cues contained within the environment
- Reassuring briefing on safety issues
- Areas containing ‘play sets’ can be most conducive to interaction but may also be most conducive to conflict (eg; ‘home corner’)
As with all children, self esteem and confidence is vital to these with VI. As these children develop, they can become extremely self-conscious of factors that impede their capacity for social interaction and restrict the range of physical tasks they can confidently undertake. A thoughtfully designed playground can serve as a useful supplement to the attempts of teachers and classroom assistants to integrate the child with VI into the wider school environment in a way that is conducive to the development of self-confidence.
When embarking on group activities classmates should be informed of a child’s poor vision and made to understand that if a child with low vision tends to keep to the margins of the group or to attach themselves to another child, this may be because of an inability to identify individuals within a group. Allocating a ‘play buddy’ can work very well.
- If using fixed drums or sound tubes ensure tat they are accessible to all and will reward different levels of musical competence. Such features often lack use due to their simplicity and lack of reward for effort.
- Provide a variety of sounds, methods of making sound and ease of use.
- Sounds could be made (eg; a bell rung) as a reward for getting to a particular place.
- The provision of sound in the environment should be designed in a way that allows it to be avoided too by children for whom it may be a source of stress.
Sensory Cues & Landmarks
- Help navigation when used consistently, eg; textures edges/or lines to follow around and through spaces or level changes identified with a consistent texture change.
- Just as important is logical layout and clarity of routes and places and sounds & smells associated with key “landmarks” en route – eg; audible water feature, traffic, change in surface texture, smell of foliage.
- Bright colours can be used to highlight changes in surface areas – it is particularly important that steps are highlighted with bright colours and have handrails.
- An innovative alternative to handrails for path guides is the creation of oversized footprints which the child with visual impairment can easily follow.
- Soft zones are an effective means of facilitating safe play. Making push along toys available can also help.
- Team games may be difficult for children with VI – teachers should discover what activities the child enjoys and excels in and provide appropriate encouragement
- If a child is new to a particular play environment, the child should be taken there in advance of communal play-time in order to explore and discover the environment when it is empty.
- Reassuring verbal prompts can be an effective way of talking children through all stages of a playground activity.
- Children with VI can become fatigued and overwhelmed by visual and sensory input. This process can have an impact on behaviour in inside and outdoor environments.
- Allow for an occasional ‘time out’ and ensure that this does not become stigmatised by other children – perhaps incorporate it into the general schedule.
- Change activity to less demanding one and return later when refreshed
- Avoid the facilitation of several intensely visually focussed tasks in a row
- Discover ways to involve children in the design of play and rest zones
- Teachers and play facilitators can encourage the use of a ‘traffic light’ system eg; child can say I am feeling green for go, amber for tiring and red for stop. This allows the child to express how they feel as a single word, or by displaying a coloured card.
- The zoom facility of a digital or video camera can be used to help children with low vision to see distant objects such as a plane in the sky or a bird in a tree.
- Verbal prompts can be used to reaffirm identification of chosen visual targets, eg; “look at the green car”.
- Children with visual impairments need to be given time to process the information they gather about their surroundings – teachers should not hasten to the next object too quickly or give up on the child’s attempt at identification too quickly.
Children with VI often experience difficulty walking over uneven surfaces. Handrails can provide access to designated play areas. Brightly coloured footsteps can allow ease of movement from one area to another. Sudden height variations should be minimised and the playground should include a safe level area. Scooters and push-toys can help with stability and confidence of movement while also preventing the child from tripping over obstacles. Bark and rubber play mats can provide safe ground cover.
Designated areas for the storage of any play equipment which is not in use can help to limit potential hazards, while a system of tactile or verbal prompts can be developed to indicate when there is uneven ground ahead. Thoughtfully designed obstacle courses can be a fun and effective means of developing spatial awareness and observation skills
Strong tonal contrast in conjunction with sensory, olfactory clues (eg; scented plants) and sound clues (eg; chimes, rustling grasses etc) will help children and adults with visual impairments to be independent within a play space.
- Climbing facilities provide opportunities for activity. But climbing opportunities should also be balanced by low level and ground level challenges.
- Add features to lower parts of structures or rock scrambles for smaller or less able children so they can join the fun without climbing to the top.
- Use tonal contrast to help users identify hand grips.
- Design structures with a range of heights, to encourage progression.
- Strive for a balance between busy and restful places.
- Provide opportunities for whole body exploration using sound and movement. This affords enthusiastic explorers the freedom to test their own limits, room to develop confidence and develop physical strength and co-ordination.
- Be mindful that some children can be distressed by noise, unfamiliarity and irregular routine.
- A mix of high and low sensory environments provides for preference and independence.
- Some pupils may be hyper or hypo sensitive to sensory stimulus, so it is essential the low stimulus environments are created as a refuge from high stimulus places and features.
- Some retreat space could be in the form of a simple, one person sized space. Eg: large cardboard boxes lined with material.
Choice of Routeways
- Try to have more than one accessible route so that children with v.i can also make decisions when way-finding.
- Avoid emphasising one particular area on a route or within a ground when providing access and sensory engagement as this can lead to loitering and segregation.
- Children without vision travel without the concept of ‘potential reach’ that vision affords, so their sensory experiences on the way to a destination assume heightened significance. It is therefore important to emphasise cues that appeal to the proximal senses.
- Good design and flow between activities can help navigation through the play area and help children develop independence.
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