Routines: Tools for Your Child Who is Blind or Low Visions Development
Think about the things you and your child do together almost every day, from self-help tasks like getting washed to playing games. You can build routines around these sorts of activities to help anticipate what’s going to happen and provide opportunities to develop concept skills, language skills, motor skills, and social skills.
Why Are Routines Important?
Routines help all children feel assured that the world is an orderly place. But they are especially valuable for children who are blind or low vision who may not be able to see what the people around them are doing. Establishing routines helps them develop a sense of cause and effect and what comes next throughout the course of the day.
Helpful Tips for Establishing Routines
- Don’t expect your child to do an entire routine on their own. Look for small ways in which they can participate in different parts of the routine.
- Look for ways to add color or high contrast to items you and your child use routinely. If the dinner routine is to feed themselves using a spoon, make sure there is a spoon and bowl that can be easily seen.
- For a child that is blind or has very low vision, think about ways to add textures or braille to items used. If part of the morning routine includes brushing hair, buy a brush that has a distinctive handle that can be identified by touch.
- Be consistent in naming things. It may confuse your child if you call a cup one day and a mug the next day. It’s important that your child understands what the word “cup” means before starting to hear it referred to as a mug. The next step will be for your child to realize that the same object can have two different names.
- When you see that your child is anticipating what will happen next, you’ll know you’ve succeeded in establishing a routine. You can recognize this by your child’s actions, even if they are too young to tell you in words.
- After your child can do one step in a routine consistently, add a new step to learn, such as having them help you put on each shoe. A toddler’s attention span tends to be short, so plan small, logical next steps in which she can participate partially as the two of you go through your routines each day.