Tuesday 26 June 2012

10 Great Toys for Sight Challenged Kids

Here is a great resource for toys for VI /  CVI children.

Posted on  by admin | in Nannies

Kids love toys of every shape and size, there’s no doubt about it.  But not all children are alike and not all kids like the same things.  When buying a gift for any child, it’s important to consider if the child will enjoy the gift. The same holds true when buying a gift for a blind or visually impaired child. Fortunately, there is an amazing array of toys that have been specially designed or modified for sight challenged kids so that they are able to enjoy many of the same toys as those who were blessed with good vision. There are also many popular toys that both blind and sighted children enjoy.
Check out these 10 great toys for sight challenged kids.
  1. Let’s Rock Elmo: Let’s Rock Elmo is an interactive toy that sings and plays music. The toy comes with various instruments that Elmo and the children can play together.  Let’s Rock Elmo does not have to be purchased through a specialty store and can be purchased at most large retailers.  Make sure to install the batteries before you give the toy to the child so that they can start playing with it immediately.
  2. Braille Learning Doll: The Braille Learning Doll is a specialty doll that is available through several different vendors, including Enable MartThere are 6 buttons on the stomach of the doll which allows the child to make all braille letters.  This is an educational gift that will help the child learn Braille. 
  3. Board games: A company called Maxi Aids offers a large line of standard board games that have been modified to work for sight challenged kids.  Some of the games include Checkers games that have high contrast color pieces, Scrabble games that have large print tiles and boards, and Monopoly that comes in a large print edition. Since both sight and blind people can play these games, it can help foster inclusion.
  4. Bop It/Bop It XT: Bop It is a fantastic game that a child can play alone or with friends.  The Bop It gives verbal commands that tell you to bop it, twist it, pull it and shake it.  Once the child knows where the different parts of the game are they should be able to play by listening to the verbal cues.  There are many different games within the Bop It toy and there are different levels of play as well.  This is a great game for the whole family.
  5. Dolls: If you buy a doll, make sure that it plays to more than one sense.  There are dolls that talk and play music that a blind child may enjoy.  Dolls with texture can be great for visually impaired children too. Look for clothes that have patches or embroidery on them so that the child can tell the difference between her dolls and doll accessories.
  6. Stuffed animals: Everyone loves a nice soft stuffed animal to hug, but to make this toy even better for a sight challenged child you may want it to engage more senses.  Choosing different types of stuffed toys, like ones stuffed with beans, crinkly paper and batting can help engage additional senses.  The texture of the animal is important too.  Maybe it’s a lion and it has a long haired fuzzy mane, soft fur on the back, and a long tail.  All of those things will make the toy more fun for a sight challenged child.
  7. Braille games: Maxi-Aids also makes card games like Uno, Phase 10 and Dominos that all come equipped with Braille cards. While the child can often feel how many dots are on a domino they can’t tell what color it is without some help from the Braille dots.
  8. Audio Dart Master: This dart game has a texturized board that the sight challenged person can feel prior to play.  The rest of the game is played by audio commands.  The board calls out the player’s name and score, and will even give off a signal to help a sight challenged player aim for the bulls-eye.  It’s available at audiodartmaster.com.
  9. Wikkistix: This is a very useful gift because it’s a toy, a craft, and is useful for marking things for sight challenged kids.  Wikkistix are sticky string-like sticks that come in various colors and can be bent and wound around anything.  Kids can make creatures to play with or create greeting cards.  The Wikkistix can even be used to teach shapes and to label things like a keyboard.   
  10. Rib-it-Ball: Someone was really thinking when they created the Rib-it-Ball.  The ball has sections of bright colors so it’s easier to see for sight challenged kids.  The ribs stick out so that it’s easy to catch and the ribs crinkle like paper so it’s easy to hear when it’s being thrown to you.  This ball will help with muscle control and hand/eye coordination.
One of the most important things you can do when picking a gift is to find out what the child enjoys.  Keep these toys in mind the next time you are on the hunt for the best gift for a sight challenged child in your life.


Friday 15 June 2012

Troxler fading

Stare at the red dot in the center of the figure for a minute or two. Before long, the green ring will disappear--it simply seems to fade into the white background. There are no tricks: This is a simple, static image file. The effect has been known for more than two centuries and is named for its discoverer, Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780-1866), a Swiss physician and philosopher. "Troxler fading" is actually related to what you experience when you get "dizzy": You become so habituated to a phenomenon (spinning in a circle or seeing a green ring in your peripheral vision) that you stop noticing it's there.
Or, rather, you don't realize that your perceptual system has begun actively ignoring it. It's only when your circumstances change that you see what the phenomenon has done to your perceptual system. When you stop spinning, the world seems to continue, in reverse. When you look away from the green ring, you see a red ring in the same part of your visual field.  
This is a perceptual illusion but I like to use it to demonstrate that children with CVI can only focus their attention on one thing. The rest of the world does not seem to exist for them while they attend to the one thing. Note that as you blink it comes back in to focus. The CVI child needs to sort of 'blink' to cause other things to stand out. Make of this what you will it; at least will 'give you pause', I hope. 

Monday 11 June 2012

Intensive Interaction as a therapy for CVI children?

What is Intensive Interaction? It is a type of therapy or intervention that is used very successfully with children with communication difficulties or complex needs and I have used it effectively with children who have cerebral visual impairment. I met Miray Kester today and was impressed by her presentation so with her permission I am making it available to you. I hope you enjoy it and learn something new. 

This week I was priveleged to share some ideas with parents and teachers on the subject of VI and CVI. I was asked the question, 'Do you suggest any therapies?' I have seen parents try different therapies through the years and each one has good points. I hope to look at more so-called 'therapies' in the near future. There is of course no fix or treatment. But I am firmly convinced that every bit of intervention or interaction between a parent (or carer etc) with a child is beneficial and will have an effect. So enjoy.