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Move With Me
A Parent's Guide to Movement Development for Visually Impaired Babies


Doris Hug
Nancy Chernus-Mansfield
Dori Hayashi


Table of Contents


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three



Babies with a serious visual loss often prefer their world to be constant and familiar. Therefore, they tend to resist change, and this includes changes in position. Many parents have told us that their visually impaired babies only enjoy lying on their backs. From the very beginning, then, it is important to introduce a wide range of movement activities to your visually impaired baby. The earlier we start and the more appealing we make these activities, the more comfortable your baby will be when trying new positions.

Timing is important and an understanding of how your baby's muscles develop will help you know when your baby is physically ready to move in different ways. Your baby's muscles develop slowly, over the course of many months but the rate at which development occurs varies somewhat according to your baby's individual "time clock," personality and whether your baby was born prematurely.

Visually impaired babies have the same potential to learn movements as sighted babies. We all have an abundance of "guiding systems" which we use to orient ourselves in space. Vision is only one such system. Therefore, we must help visually impaired babies tune into their other "guiding systems" early on. If we don't tune into these systems, delays usually occur in certain areas such as crawling and walking. Additionally, movement skills may become less fluid than sighted babies. It's important for you to provide additional help so that your baby strengthens the necessary muscles and develops his other senses in order to acquire the necessary self confidence and a good sense of balance to encourage more fluid movement skills.

This booklet offers a variety of ways for you to promote your baby's movement development. The suggestions are meant to be guidelines and we hope that you will use them in ways that work best for you and your baby. In EVERYTHING you do with your baby, the two words to remember are "TALK" and "CUDDLE" because your voice and touch are the two most soothing ways to comfort and reassure your baby. It is important to practice these activities SLOWLY, GENTLY, and A FEW MINUTES AT A TIME. A few minutes several times a day is a good guideline.

If you are concerned about trying any of the suggested activities or if your baby is multi-handicapped, please consult your pediatrician or physical therapist. In the beginning, your baby may be unsure about the new activities. But as time passes, he will become more comfortable trying new things and your active involvement helps lay the foundation for your baby's future development. Most of all, we hope that you have fun together and that these activities become part of the ways in which you normally and naturally play with your baby and attend to your baby's needs.

Pediatric Physical Therapist
Santa Monica, California

Executive Director
Blind Childrens Center
Los Angeles, California

Director of Development
Blind Childrens Center
Los Angeles, California

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