Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Physical Education for the Blind Child

Playing at recess or getting involved with team sports is extremely hard for a blind child. Even if the child is more than willing to give it a try, the other children and often adults can be discouraging. Either they don't take the time to adapt the game for the vi child or they are afraid the vi child will get hurt, etc. If the blind child is reluctant to even try to participate AND the others are as well, this most often leads to the blind child never becoming engaged.

My daughter doesn't walk independently and doesn't enjoy holding unfamiliar objects (like the baseball bat!) - both of which are needed to fully participate in most sports. However, we haven't let it hold her back. We enrolled her on a special league for children with disabilities. She isn't the only blind child, nor the only child that needs assistance holding the bat and running the bases. Each child has a 'buddy' that helps him/her each game and they have one game a week for about 8-10 weeks. My daughter loves it. It took her a couple of weeks to become familiar with the field (which is special bc it doesn't have any barriers that can cause children to trip,etc) and the coaches. She does better some weeks than others. We bought her a cheap baseball bat and tee set to play with at home. This has helped with her batting skills tremendously! But the point is that she is out there playing t-ball! She hits the beeper ball, runs the bases, plays the field, cheers on her teammates, hears everyone cheer her on, and finishes by singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".

We also do Yoga at least once a week at home in our living room. We use a kids Yoga DVD that has a pose or exercise for each letter of the alphabet. She enjoys listening to Marsha on the movie and pretending to be different animals. The exercises are great just for the strength and stretching, but also for her balance and coordination. Gymnastics is also a great way to get your visually impaired or blind child moving! It is great for procieptive and vestibular activities; and simply put, gymnastics and tumbling teaches them to fall. Forward roles and flips on the bar are some of my daughter's favorite moves. I hope to enroll her this summer in a more structured class.

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