University of Edinburgh

Development and Supportive Interventions for Babies and Young Children with Visual Impairment

Presented on Thursday, 11 November 2010

Play - The Close up Approach

Mary Dallas, RNIB
From Bartimeus

Commenting, Connecting and Creating


  • Putting into words the events and experiences that are happening.
  • Describe your own and other's actions, interactions, expressions and feelings - what the other children are up to!
  • Verbalise the child's feelings and expressions
  • Tell the child what she/he looks like each day and also what everyone else looks like


  • Pointing out links and providing structure.
  • Making connections in her world, where people and toys are.
  • Linking previous experiences with what is happening now and what will happen next.
  • Explaining why children are behaving the way they are.
  • Explaining appropriate social behaviours and the consequences of inappropriate behaviours eg; not 'looking' at a friend/adult or turning her back on other children.


Creating opportunities to maximise social interaction.

  • Create secure and manageable small groups.
  • Encourage children to interact directly with the child and not through an adult.
  • Where children are able, encourage them to tell vi child what they are doing.
  • Allow child to play on her own - allowing space for peers to approach her.
  • Encourage lots of functional play - using toys or objects for pretend play and dramatic role play.
  • Prompt child to verbalise preferences, share toys, choose friends to share activities with and put feelings about other children into words.
  • Encourage child to imitate her friends by describing their actions and helping her to copy them - modelling of actions may be needed.
  • Be one of the kids - get involved, when appropriate, in role play by way of prompting/supporting child.
  • Create more opportunities to learn about feelings, expressions and gesture
  • Encourage child to feel expressions on yours and her face - mouth and eyebrows are important.
  • Use dolls with facial features/expressions that are feelable.
  • Undertake tactile art work to create expressions.
  • Draw attention to feelings of others in role play, books and stories.

Social Skills

Teach non-verbal skills and manners such as:

  • Waving
  • Shaking head and nodding for yes/no
  • Say "excuse me" when bumping into friends.