Cognitive Development in Young Children

Because so much of a baby's information comes through the visual sense, young children with blindness or visual impairments need some assistance to learn basic concepts about the world around them. The links in this section provide detailed information about establishing routines to help children understand and anticipate daily activities. There is also information about helping to develop basic number concepts and beginning math skills.
Below is a list of topics you'll find in this section. Click on a title to jump to a specific topic.


Developing Meaningful Routines

FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article explains the critical importance of establishing a predictable sequence of activities in the lives of children who are blind or visually impaired.
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
Peggy Freeman gives advice on the importance of routines to parents of babies who are deafblind with multiple disabilities, with detailed suggestions for routines for feeding, sleeping, bathing, dressing and undressing, and toileting (Microsoft Word Document).
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairment
This article discusses the importance of routines and offers helpful tips for establishing them.
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Find out why routines are important foundations to develop communication skills and to help the child learn about the world.  A specific example of a bus routine is included.
California Deaf-Blind Services
This tip sheet offers specific suggestions to assist a child in understanding and adjusting to changes in routine.

Setting Up Object Calendars or Schedules

FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments 
This article explores some of the basic questions to consider when setting up a schedule system with your child.

Concept Development

Project SPARKLE describes the three types of concepts (concrete, semi-concrete, and abstract) and general strategies to assist children who are deafblind in concept development; includes a glossary and links to resources.
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
Barbara Miles and Barbara McLetchie describe types of concepts and the relationships, attitudes, and environments that promote their development in students who are deafblind; in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
Find practical suggestions on how to teach basic cognitive skills, such as spatial awareness, positional concepts, and object permanence.
Nursery World
Treasure Baskets are collections of real objects that encourage a child to explore different sensory characteristics.  This article offers suggestions of items to include in the baskets and discusses some of the educational benefits for young children.
This article offers ideas on how to teach your child about water and the concept of wetness.

Numbers and Early Math Skills

Project Math Access
This site has suggestions for helping young children with visual impairments develop a positive attitude towards math, with activities for teaching numbers sense, basic concepts, one-to-one correspondence, and counting skills.
U.S. Department of Education
Although not aimed at parents of children with visual impairments, this site has useful general information, including strategies for teaching big mathematical concepts, activities that reinforce math skills in the daily routine, and links to additional resources.
Susan's Math Technology Corner, Texas School for the Blind (TSBVI)
Susan Osterhaus offers suggestions for materials, activities, and resources to help young children develop simple mathematical concepts.