University of Edinburgh

The Early Years: Strategies and Resources for working with very young visually impaired children

Presented on Thursday 6 March 2008

Support for Families

Early Support - Developmental Journal for babies and children with visual impairment

Lynn Lymer,
Visiting Teaching and Support Services

Why vision matters

  • Main distance learning sense
  • Coordinates all early experience
  • 90% of infant learning is visual
  • Key to movement and exploration
  • Key to communication and relationships

Use of the Journal

  • Gives clear information in everyday language
  • Can be left with the family
  • Gives parallel checklists for vision and for overall development
  • Acts as a prompt for discussion
  • Provides suggested activities

Words of caution

  • It may suit the more able child best
  • Some families might be overwhelmed
  • If may suit children with some vision, better than those who will learn by non-sighted methods.

The families

  • Sighted parents with a son who has Norrie's Disease and a younger daughter
  • Sighted parents whose second child is a boy with Leber's Congenital Amaurosis
  • Blind parents with a son who has inherited Leber's Congenital Amaurosis
  • A carer who is looking after a little boy with no perception of light
  • Sighted parents with a sighted daughter and a son with bilateral coloboma of the iris and retina
  • Sighted parents of three girls and a son with complex needs.


Age 3 years 10 months. Attends his local nursery. Norrie's Disease


Age 3 years 11 months. Attends his local nursery. Leber's Congenital Amaurosis

Parents' comments on using the Journal

  • I like the activity cards
  • It gives suggestions for activities that Gran can carry out
  • It relates my son's progress to normal (her word) children
  • It gave me confidence that we were not overlooking anything.

More comments

  • It helps me to think of questions to ask
  • I enjoy working together (with VTVI) to see what progress my son has made
  • I feel more in control with the Journal than I am with medical assessments

More comments

  • I keep the Journal in the house, so I can show off my son's achievements
  • We are building up this detailed record together - I might use it for my daughter too!
  • It lets us write in things we like doing together

VTVI comments

  • The Journal is infinitely flexible
  • It sill depends on your professional judgement and knowledge
  • Be careful how much you deliver to a family at any one time
  • Only start ticking boxes in the section when you are sure there will be successes to record

Contact details

Lynn Lymer, VTSS, 154 McDonald Road, Edinburgh EH7 4NN
Telephone: 0131 469 2850