Visual Impairments in Children:
Vision is one of our five senses. Being able to see gives us tremendous access to learning about the world around us—people’s faces and the subtleties of expression, what different things look like and how big they are, and the physical environments where we live and move, including approaching hazards.
When a child has a visual impairment, it is cause for immediate attention. That’s because so much learning typically occurs visually. When vision loss goes undetected, children are delayed in developing a wide range of skills. While they can do virtually all the activities and tasks that sighted children take for granted, children who are visually impaired often need to learn to do them in a different way or using different tools or materials. (2) Central to their learning will be touching, listening, smelling, tasting, moving, and using whatever vision they have. (3) The assistance of parents, family members, friends, caregivers, and educators can be indispensable in that process. More will be said about this in a moment.
Types of Visual Impairment:
Not all visual impairments are the same, although the umbrella term “visual impairment” may be used to describe generally the consequence of an eye condition or disorder.
The eye has different parts that work together to create our ability to see. When a part of the eye doesn’t work right or communicate well with the brain, vision is impaired.
To understand the particular visual impairment a child has, it’s helpful to understand the anatomy of the eye and the functions of its different parts. Rather than go into those details here, in this general fact sheet, we’re pleased to refer you to the experts for easy-to-understand explanations and diagrams of the visual system.
National Eye Institute |
Visit the Institute online for a diagram of the eye, what different parts are called, and what aspect of vision each part is responsible for.
Most of us are familiar with visual impairments such as near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Less familiar visual impairments include:
- strabismus, where the eyes look in different directions and do not focus simultaneously on a single point;
- congenital cataracts, where the lens of the eye is cloudy;
- retinopathy of prematurity, which may occur in premature babies when the light-sensitive retina hasn’t developed sufficiently before birth;
- retinitis pigmentosa, a rare inherited disease that slowly destroys the retina;
- coloboma, where a portion of the structure of the eye is missing;
- optic nerve hypoplasia, which is caused by underdeveloped fibers in the optic nerve and which affects depth perception, sensitivity to light, and acuity of vision; and
cortical visual impairment (CVI), which is caused by damage to the part of the brain related to vision, not to the eyes themselves.
Signs of a Visual Impairment:
It’s very important to diagnose and address visual impairment in children as soon as possible. Some vision screening may occur at birth, especially if the baby is born prematurely or there’s a family history of vision problems, but baby wellness visits as early as six months should also include basic vision screening to ensure that a little one’s eyes are developing and functioning as might be expected.
That said, common signs that a child may have a visual impairment include the following.
Eyes that don’t move together when following an object or a face
Crossed eyes, eyes that turn out or in, eyes that flutter from side to side or up and down, or eyes that do not seem to focus
Eyes that bulge, dance, or bounce in rapid rhythmic movements
Pupils that are unequal in size or that appear white instead of black
Repeated shutting or covering of one eye (as noticed with Julian)
Unusual degree of clumsiness, such as frequent bumping into things or knocking things over
Frequent squinting, blinking, eye-rubbing, or face crunching, especially when there’s no bright light present
Sitting too close to the TV or holding toys and books too close to the face
Avoiding tasks and activities that require good vision .
If any of these symptoms are present, parents will want to have their child’s eyes professionally examined. Early detection and treatment are very important to the child’s development.
Let’s recognize the Visually Challenged for their ‘abilities’
Let them not be identified by their ‘disability’
Let’s not see them as ‘disabled’, but ‘differently abled’
Let’s not sympathise, for, we didn’t ‘earn’ eyesight. It was ‘granted’
‘Disability’ is God given and ‘Handicap’ is man made
‘VISION without EYESIGHT’ is more powerful than ‘EYESIGHT without VISION’
These are not ‘visually challenged musicians’ , but ‘ great musicians’ who happen to be ‘visually challenged’.
We ‘believe’ when we ‘see’…and they ‘see’ when they ‘believe’
Show them the way…
Lead them from Darkness to Light…………
To know more about Visually Challenged,click on below link:
Institute of Visually Challenged