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Role of parents

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 12:08 -- admin

As soon as the baby is born, the mother and father become attached to their child through touch – through holding, carrying, and playing with their baby. The world of movement begins, and it is the parents who are the first educators of their child. This holds true for visually impaired children too.

Parents have a much longer, sustained, and intimate relationship with their child than anybody else. When children are young they are learning to identify and label the world. Blind children are no different. They need to become familiar with the world, too. Familiariastion develops orientation. For the sighted child, vision puts them in the action.

Vision is the sense that allows us to integrate all of the things we learn about the world. Without normal vision, the child must learn to "see" and understand the world in new ways. As the child's parents, one needs the opportunity to: understand how loss of vision affects their child's early development; learn how they, as parents, can most effectively teach their child to see the world. One must realise that every child, whether visually impaired or not, is a learner. Besides this, what every child learns in the first three years of life is learned visually, primarily through imitation, says a research.

Visually impaired children learn by touching, listening, smelling, tasting, moving, and using whatever vision they have. A parent teaches his/her child by talking, touching, and playing during natural interaction times. One also teaches by providing toys and ordinary household objects that vary in texture, weight, smell, sound, and colour. The more sensory experiences provided, both one at a time and simultaneously, during everyday routines and special family occasions, the better. The fact is that just about all your interactions–playing, talking, putting on clothes, feeding–are natural teaching experiences for you and learning opportunities for your child. However, children have different learning styles and, therefore, effective teaching approaches should be geared to individual needs.

Parents are the natural teacher because they know their child better than anyone else does and have a better idea of what he/she is ready to learn. They spend more time with the child . Therefore they're able to take advantage of the many ordinary events – things that happen throughout the day in the normal course of family life – that are teaching opportunities. As a parent you give your child toys and common, everyday objects to help him / her learn in natural situations that can be applied to other situations outside the home.

Also, as a parent you must keep on providing opportunities to your child to practice what he has learned and a chance to experience the world under your guidance. You act as a role model. By starting early, you teach your child good habits that will last a lifetime. And, above all involve your child in family life so friends and relatives learn how to interact with your visually impaired child and he / she learns how to act with others.

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