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When a visual impairment is present from birth (congenital) it will have a more
significant impact on development and learning than if the visual impairment is
acquired later in life (adventitious). Loss of vision can affect all areas of
Vision Loss Can Impact All Areas of Development
Social development is affected as children are not able to pick up on non-verbal clues or if they are unable to make eye contact they may appear disinterested and can reduced sustained social interactions. Loss of vision impacts motor development as a child may not be motivated to move toward that which can't be seen or causes inhibition to move for fear of the unknown.
Exploration of the environment and materials is critical in cognitive
development, therefore movement is important not only for motor development but
for development of concepts. Language acquisition can also be affected by the
loss of vision as active interaction with people and the environment is
important in language development. Delays in the area of independence in
activities of daily living are impacted as incidental learning through
observation is not possible for those with significant visual impairments. This
impact can be magnified when caregivers, in an effort to help or to rush through
activities, complete tasks for the child which creates a learned helplessness in
Berthold Lowenfeld, a psychologist, researcher, and advocate for the blind,
hypothesized that blindness imposes 3 basic limitations on a person:
Because of these restrictions, the individual relates to and learns about the world through the remaining senses, particularly hearing and touch. Lowenfeld stated that "A great many experiences which are taken for granted with seeing children are either impossible or much more difficult for blind children."
Lowenfeld found that students with visual impairments required special
experiences to help them make sense of what they were learning. Teachers need to
make sure these are minimized through training and skills through active
exploration with concrete materials. Read More about Berthold Lowenfeld at
Hall of Fame.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology. It is often portrayed in
the shape of a pyramid, with the largest and most fundamental levels of needs at
the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top. Maslow's theory
suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual
will strongly desire the secondary or higher level needs. Moslow hierarchy can
be used to solve problems presented by the loss of vision.
1. Personal/Physical: 11 Senses, cognitive IQ, Muscular/skeletal reflex. The physical attributes of what's going on; sensorimotor. These are requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot continue to function.
2. Safety: Real. Sensorimotoric. Things that are physical (ex. not able to cross street the same way as sighted. Perceived. Can come from anyone. Must attack emotional aspect. With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the person's safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior.
3. Love/Trust: Have to trust someone. Someone needs to motivate me.
4. Esteem: Love and trust self. Trust own decisions.
5. Cognitive. Now able to pay attention. Transfer knowledge.
6. Asthetics/Motivation: Moving toward a motivation. Teach kids to be motivated and take risks.
7. Self Actualized. They do it. An accepted standard.
"If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being,