Dear Visitors:
Federal funding for this website ended in 2003, therefore few materials have been added since that time. Fortunately, there is continued interest in culturally and appropriate materials, curriculum, and programs. Because of this, we have allowed this site to remain as an archive. Please feel free to use this site, but recognize that it is no longer current.


Let's Eat
Feeding a Child With A Visual Impairment


Jill Brody
Lynne Webber


Table of Contents


Children with visual impairments often have more difficulty learning to feed themselves than do children with adequate vision. Babies and toddlers with visual impairments lack one major avenue of exploration, and this significantly influences their awareness, perceptions, and anticipation of the food which is presented to them. As a result, they often resist the introduction of textured foods, show a lack of interest in the process of self-feeding, and may be perceived as "poor eaters."

Learning to eat is a complex process which involves sensory stimulation and awareness, controlled movements, coordination, and exploratory behaviors. Cultural practices are also factors in the learning process. Most children learn to eat with ease, and parents often have almost no awareness of the stages children pass through, or the complexity of the task.

Feeding a child is considered an important aspect of nurturing which enhances the bonds of love and trust between parent and child. When everything goes well, parents feel confident in their ability to successfully meet one of their child's most basic needs.

Parents and caregivers may feel frustrated and inadequate when their child does not react with excitement in the same way that other children do when different eating experiences are offered. These feelings are frequently expressed by parents of children with visual impairments and may affect the parent/child relationship.

The process of helping a child learn to eat independently can take a long time. When babies with visual impairments, developmental delays, and problems related to muscle tone have feeding difficulties, individualized techniques are often necessary to help them. Fortunately, there are methods which can help parents of problem eaters feel more confident. There are also specialized ways to assist children with visual impairments as they learn to become independent in eating.

We hope this booklet will be helpful to those families who are coping with the challenge of teaching competent feeding skills to their children with visual impairments.

View Description for this Item

Search CLAS Materials Return to CLAS Home Page