University of Edinburgh

Play and Communication with Pupils with Visual Impairment and Additional Support Needs

Presented on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 December

Developing Expressive Communication - Using the child's personal gestures

Mary Lee, Royal Blind School, Edinburgh

Joint Reference/ Shared Attention

  • Child sees object and attracts mother's attention
  • Child directs mother's attention to object
  • Mother attends to object
  • Object is included

Difficulties for the visually impaired child

  • Importance of the visual role within interaction - attracting and directing attention
  • Child is unaware of what is around him, therefore lacks motivation
  • Difficult for the adult to 'read' child's signals - observation is vital

Begin by bringing objects into an interactive exchange.

Motivating communication

  • Provide activities that the child enjoys
  • Provide opportunities for choice
  • Avoid doing too much for the children -hold back and wait
  • Encourage independent exploration and thus child’s experience of the world
  • Create the unexpected

Extending beyond simple request

  • Conversational (interactive exchanges)
  • Sharing activities (songs)
  • Developing narratives (stories)
  • Recalling shared events (memories)