Vision has a very important role in your baby’s early years development. Children learn by copying what they see others do, they observe how people interact and watch to see how something responds to their actions. Vision also encourages mobility by providing the motivation to move towards an interesting object, and is helpful for learning new skills like finger feeding.
If your child has a vision impairment, they may need to learn and explore the world in a slightly different way. Sensory activities and learning through play can help your child gain confidence, achieve their milestones and understand the world.
Helping your child with a vision impairment develop through play
Why is play important for my child?
Play is fundamental to your child's development, especially in the early years. Play helps your child to develop movement, communication skills and an understanding of the world around them. It motivates children to explore and interact with objects and people, building their confidence and sense of self. Through play, children develop the practical skills they need such as: communication skills, fine and gross motor skills and language development.
What is habilitation?
If you have received support from your local authority or Guide Dogs, you might have heard of habilitation. Guide Dogs’ habilitation specialists support families, carers and nurseries by encouraging everyone involved with your child to feel confident in how to provide the specific support that your child needs. Habilitation covers a wide range of skills and activities, always with your child at the centre. We provide individualised support including learning through play and sensory activities for babies, toddlers and young children. Our specialist support helps to reduce the impact of sensory impairment in children, and maximises their social inclusion by focusing on key development areas such as early movement, social and communication skills and early self-help.
Free online resources for learning through play
We’ve developed free online resources containing information, guidance and activities, to help support your child's early years development through play.
The activities cover five key development areas and can easily be done at home, using everyday items. The five development areas are:
- Concept development
- Sensory skills
- Fine and gross motor skills
- Self-help and independence
- Communication skills
Develop your child's mobility skills and independence
Our free My Time to Play programme helps children with a visual impairment develop a range of skills to improve their mobility and encourage independence.