The concept of the little room was created by Lilli Nielsen. It is based on the Active Learning central idea that children with visual impairments need access to materials at all times at near to stimulate their minds to explore and compare. This access at near provides consistent tactile, visual and often auditory stimulation. Children in the little room explore without adult intervention. We always create little rooms to match children’s visual needs. Some children benefit from only red shiny items and not too many items (too complex). They might benefit from a white gauze cloth across the top (reduces complexity). Within this familiar environment children begin to reach to the predictable materials. Under the little room is a resonance board often made of birch. Movements create echoed sounds. I find children often increase vocalizations in this sound chamber. Children may need short exposures to this new environment in the beginning but by slowly increasing time in this play space, every child I have worked with loves this activity! When minds are stimulated, far less self body play is needed. Self body play is the child’s way to create stimulation for their brain. We want to decrease the need for this self body play and increase the child’s engagement with the world and the little room is the prefect way!
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