How Parents of Visually Impaired Children Can Build Strong Readers
The ability to read is invaluable in the life of a person with blindness or low vision. It influences the quality of life. Therefore, it’s crucial for parents to encourage reading in visually impaired children from an early age. Apart from introducing children to literacy, books for the blind are a chance to learn and grow. They aid in language development, listening skills, and creativity.
How children with impaired vision interact with books, shape their experiences. So, parents, guardians, and families must learn to make reading not only fun but also educational. In this article, you will find several tips to guide you in teaching your child to love reading and make it part of his or her routine.
Remember They are Still Children
A critical aspect every parent should remember is that a child with vision impairment is still a child. So, be careful not to treat him or her differently. This advice especially applies to families with other children with normal vision. The techniques used in regular reading are also suitable when using audiobooks for the blind. Hence, find out about the most successful reading tactics and use them on your young one. Sharing reading time with your child is one of those methods. It enables you two to bond as you enjoy stories, taking you through different adventures.
Choose the Right Books
One challenge of introducing reading to visually impaired children is that they might have limited experiences from which to draw. For example, explaining a zoo to a child with blindness or low vision can be difficult. If a child has other disabilities, then finding the right content is even more challenging. So, the books for the blind you select make a big difference. They should be easy for a child to relate to.
As children get older, books about blindness can help them understand their situation better. These reading options are particularly helpful for children who develop vision impairment in their later years. They can help them adjust to their circumstances. Reading authors with impaired vision can also inspire children.
Access to suitable reading materials has improved significantly over the years. With resources like free audiobooks for the blind, you won’t have trouble setting on appropriate selections, regardless of interests or age.
Prioritize Quiet and Comfort
Where you decide to read matters as much as what you read. When discovering literacy with your child, eliminate all distractions. Children have limited attention spans, and vision impairment can make them more impatient. So, remove all ambient noise. A quiet place is particularly important when reading audiobooks for the blind. You should be able to concentrate on the reading materials.
Therefore, switch off the TV, put the phone on vibrate, and tell anyone else in the house to give you space. Find a comfortable position for the child. You want to avoid moving around as much as possible. Also, time reading sessions to prevent boredom. Reading shouldn’t feel like work. Encourage the rest of the family to participate in reading, as well.
A good way for children with blindness or partial sight to engage actively while reading is with objects. Incorporating various items helps illustrate the story, enabling readers to connect. Tactiles, such as objects around the house, toys, and natural materials, help children feel their way around a story. It’s how they can learn to associate items to specific situations. Employ tactiles to help your child identify objects. Children of a certain age group can use story boxes.
Another useful method is teaching children to craft tactile books. You can encourage your young one to make books out of daily experiences. Together, collect materials from your immediate environment and use them to illustrate different activities. For instance, when in the park, you can gather flowers, leaves, and rocks, then make them into a book.
How to Read with Your Child
Whether reading for pleasure or to gain knowledge, the experience should be fun and stress-free for your child. Below are some tips that can help:
- Use vocal expressions and explain the characters’ body language
- Describe pictures vividly
- Ask questions to encourage engagement
- Let the child help narrate the story
- Applaud all reading efforts
- Allow the child to handle the book
- Use audiobooks with start and stop buttons
Parents and families of children with visual impairment should dedicate time and the required resources to develop a reading culture. Books are some of the ways persons with blindness or low vision connect to the world. Thus, introducing children to the right content is essential. Access to a diverse library for the blind ensures your young one enjoys interesting reading materials, which help model their adventures.