visually impaired girl playing t-ball

by Emily Coleman

Summertime is approaching and for many children that means trying new sports or a new activity, hanging out at the park, going camping, and simply having adventures. Children who are blind or visually impaired can often be left out. The following are five reasons why it’s so important to include these children in recreational activities.

  1. Physical activity. Children who have a visual impairment sometimes don’t get many opportunities to exercise. We all know that exercising is important to stay healthy, so this reason is obvious.

  2. Hands-on learning. Sometimes, children with visual impairments simply don’t know how to play any sports or participate in activities. They’ve never been taught or haven’t been exposed to recreation designed specifically for them. By including them in a variety of recreational activities, they can learn how to play, which leads to reason number three.

  3. Finding their preference. Only after learning about a sport or an activity can a person truly decide if they like it or not. By providing children who are visually impaired with lots of recreational opportunities, they can decide for themselves what things they’d like to try again…and what things they’d rather not.

  4. Socialization. It can be difficult for some children to make friends. Recreation provides a common activity that can start friendships and maintain them through a shared interest or hobby. Try to see every recreational activity as a chance to meet a new friend and to be a new friend to somebody else.

  5. Self-esteem. Children who are visually impaired should be treated like their peers. They are just as capable and expecting them to participate in recreational activities will build their self-esteem. If they are told that they “can” instead of that they “can’t,” they’ll also expect more of themselves. Through every accomplishment, their self-esteem will improve, leading to greater independence.

For all children who are blind or visually impaired, independence is the greatest goal. This is worked on during the school year through academics but sometimes ignored during the summer. For the reasons listed above, I suggest you continue teaching independence throughout the warmer months by promoting recreation. Not only will it benefit your child this summer but also for many summers to come.