toys for children with CVI

Shiny Target Toss

target throw

I had a little boy with CVI who loved to sit in the ball pit at school and throw balls without looking to hear noise. This was auditory play. He especially liked to throw the balls against the closed window blinds to get that nice metal sound. The staff really wanted him to stop.

I decided to use it as an opportunity to make it a visual activity as well. I hung an aluminum pan by a sting against the wall in front of him. He noticed the movement of the slightly swinging pan (movement characteristic drew his visual attention at distance). He began to aim towards this target that had a much more interesting sound AND movement. He was locating it at 6-8 feet, aiming with sustained gaze and tossing like a pro! Taking advantage of an activity that a child already enjoys and building it into a visual event is an excellent way to build visual skills.

Materials for the Littleroom

As sighted people, we need to let go of our concept of “good toy”.  What is interesting to us is often cute, colorful and represents things we see in the world.  I think about what captures my interest as I shop for my sighted grandniece.  These are not very interesting to a child with a visual impairment.

Close your eyes as you chose a toy.

Is that cold, hard plastic duck engaging?

Does that furry teddy bear feel interesting?

The answer is often “no”.

Now feel a set of metal measuring spoons.  Not much of a toy to you but to a child with a visual impairment, the shape is fascinating.  These spoons are different sizes that can be compared. The temperature is cold.  The spoons react differently when you hold them in different ways.  They make great sounds when the clack together and great sounds when banged on other surfaces.  Now that’s a toy for a littleroom!

When picking materials for the littleroom, close your eyes.  Sound, sizes, texture, weight, temperature, and changeability are the qualities we want to look for.