Play For Children with Visual Disabilities
Children with a visual disability need to explore construction toys with both
hands in order to learn about their shape, size, texture, weight, and other
characteristics. The child should be encouraged to feel the toys all over
and describe what he or she feels. Commenting or questioning the child
will help them become conscious of the toys' basic traits: "That block is
curved. Feel the curve." "Is the block a square or a circle?"
The child might also feel what other children are building (with their
permission), to get an idea of how to play with the construction toys.
Once a child begins to build with construction toys, you may draw attention
to concepts that other children learn by looking at the toys as they use them or
by watching others during play. For example, "You used lots of blocks to
make this wall. It's long. Feel it." "Who has more blocks?"
Emphasize the concept of number, which can be especially difficult for
children with visual disabilities to understand.
Encourage other children to talk as they play and to tell the child with a
visual disability what they're doing. This will draw the child's attention
to concepts as well as involve them in social play and conversational language.
Children learn a lot about problem solving by trying out their own ideas,
watching others solve problems and adapting those ideas, and working along with
other children to arrive at solutions. Adults should actively encourage
children to share ideas and work with others. When the child successfully
solves a problem, talk with them about it in the vicinity of others: "How
did you get those blocks to stand up like that?"
Adults may ask other children to describe their solutions to problems and
suggest that children work together. When a child with a visual disability
gets "stuck", offer help by describing ideas that others have tried.
Play For Children with Hearing Disabilities
Language and cognition go hand in hand. When children see something
that is long, they are better able to understand that concept by giving it a
label that describes the object (long block).
Children with hearing disabilities are not always aware of math words that
other children pick up more easily. You can help by observing their play
and from time to time encouraging them to use relevant terms as they play with
construction toys. For example, "I see you're making two towers.
Which one has more blocks in it?"
Young children are learning to solve complicated problems by using words to
express their feelings. Periodically encourage a child with a hearing
disability, who may be reluctant to speak, to talk about a problem-solving
situation and how he or she resolved it.
Play For Children with Physical Disabilities
Children learn by doing. If children with physical disabilities avoid
building with construction toys, they miss many opportunities. Helping a
child find materials and body positions that allow him or her to participate
actively can itself become a lesson in problem solving.
Set out several types of building toys and ask the child to find out which
are easiest to work with. They might also experiment with positions, such
as on their tummy with their chest over a bolster and their arms forward, lying
on one side with a support behind the back, or propped in a sitting position in
Finally, help a child feel less frustrated as they manipulate materials by
presenting difficulties as construction problems to solve. For example:
"What might hold your building steady while you work on it? Could you use
tape or clay to hold it down somehow?"
Professor Merle. "Play For Children With Disabilities." Professor at
University of Illinois