Exploration allows children to learn the concepts that help them organize a mental map of their environment. Concepts such as in/out, up/down, over/under are learned by experimenting and acting on objects and spaces. If we adults do it for children, they miss out on important experiential learning.

Reaching, crawling, standing, cruising, and walking all take practice. The more active a child is in a safe, familiar environment, the more he can learn to safely move from one place to another.

“Am I on the bottom step or the top?” “How high is that mat?” “Is my toy next to my right hand or my left?” Without reliable vision, a child has to explore by touch, hearing, and movement even more than other children.

Our job is to let a child test a spatial concept (e.g. inside/outside) and to narrate for him what he is doing. This helps the child build a mental representation of that experience. He can build concepts by playing with a metal bowl or by crawling in and out of a cardboard box. A parent, teacher or grandparent can be nearby to narrate as the child learns at his own pace. This is the best reinforcer for developing new concepts as the child moves safely and confidently into the world.


• Following the Child’s Lead

Watch the video clips for demonstrations of OSEP outcomes:

  • Positive social relationships with adults, other children
  • Thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem solving, using language, understanding their physical and social world
  • Taking care of basic needs, getting from place to place, using tools, self-help skills

Movement and Young Children

Movement and Young Children

By Carla Hannaford

Movement is essential to learning. Movement integrates and anchors new information into our neural networks. (Teaching Values.com)

Orientation and Mobility: The Early Years of Infancy through Preschool

By Tanni Anthony

Within the past five to ten years, an emphasis has been placed on the early O&M skills specific to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are visually impaired. Discussion of physical readiness, cognitive connection, and motivation invitation. (Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired)

Secure Infant Attachment

Effects of Secure Attachment

By Allan Schore, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine

Details the neurobiology of a secure attachment.

The Importance of Touch

By Gigi Newton, Teacher Trainer, TSBVI, Texas Deafblind Outreach

Reading their Signals / Mutual Attention

Using Tactile Strategies With Students Who Are Blind and Have Severe Disabilities

By June Downing and Deborah Chen

Wait Time

The Ever-Important “Pause”

By Lyn Ayer, Director, Oregon Deafblind Projec

The importance of “wait time” as a strategy to encourage communication and participation when interacting with individuals with deafblindness or multiple disabilities. (Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired)

Building Concepts

Dad, Where’s the Plunger?

By Richard Holloway, from “Future Reflections: A Magazine for Parents & Teachers of Blind Children, Summer 2011, Vol. 30, No. 3,”
Deborah Kentstein, Editor

In this article, Richard Holloway describes how he helped his blind daughter,Kendra,fill in some important information gaps.

Tactile Strategies for Young Children who are Deaf-Blind: A Teacher’s Perspective

By Patty Salcedo, M.A.

Patty Salcedo, a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and the mother of a child who has a visual impairment, describes how the infant’s home or young child’s preschool setting can be set up for optimal learning. She emphasizes ways to help young children build new concepts.

Following the Child’s Lead

About Floortime

The “Greenspan Floortime Approach” is a system developed by the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan. Floortime meets children where they are and builds upon their strengths and abilities through creating a warm relationship and interacting. Video instruction and workshop links.

Children with Complex Medical Needs

Conversations without Language: Building Quality Interactions with Children Who are Deaf-Blind

By Linda Hagood, Education Specialist, TSBVI Outreach Department

Article based on information from Dr. Jan van Dijk, regarding conversations with children who have limited language skills.

Lily Neilson’s site – Active Learning

Children with multiple disabilities often respond favorably to a different strategy for addressing their learning needs. Lili Neilson’s “ Active Learning” is designed for and reaches learners with visual impairment and other disabilities.