Visual Impairment

Vision or sight is usually taken for granted. When our vision is impaired, 60 to 70% of inputs from the outside world are affected. The definition of blindness in children is given whose sight is so defective that he requires education by methods not involving the use of sight. The partially sighted are defined as children who due to faulty vision, can't follow the ordinary curriculum without hampering their eyesight further.

Causes


There are different causes for blindness like diseases of the eye and its nerves such as
  • Detached retina
  • Optic nerve diseases
  • Increased pressure within the eye
  • Congenital cataract
  • Damaged scarring of the iris or cornea

Blindness can also result from damage to that part of the brain which interprets the nerve sensations sent from the eye. Good nutrition and vitamin supply is also very important.



Training


For the children who are blind from birth, appropriate educational services are needed from the age of two. An entire school programme has to be designed to suit their needs. They have to be educated by non-visual methods such as making more use of tactile (touch) methods, auditory and kinesthetic modes. They are also taught Braille. It takes at least 6 months hard, concentrated study to learn Braille. They can be aided by reading substitutes, talking books. The partially sighted can be aided by large print and magnifying glasses.


Mobility


Every blind child should be taught how to become as mobile as possible. Sticks and canes are used to help keep a steady walking position. The child is taught 'Long Cane Technique'. In this a long cane is held out in front at 60" and moved from side to side just touching the ground. Long canes and sticks are painted white for easy identification of a blind person.


Useful links


http://www.nfb.org/