Review by Dorris Willoughby
These excellent booklets offer concise, practical advice far helping blind infants and children learn to talk and communicate meaningfully.
The first booklet discusses the general development of speech, beginning with the first nonverbval communication of the tiny infant. A child's first limited words have widely varying meanings, and the parents responses help the child widen his vocabulary and learn to socialize. Adults should draw the child meaningfully into conversations. Unnecessary distractions, such as constant loud TV, should be avoided.
"Your child is like other children, but he does have special, needs because of his visual impairment." Comments like this one help to bring perspective, avoiding the idea that blind children's needs are wholly different, and yet bringing out ideas that help blind children specifically.
The second booklet continues with the same gentle and practical approach, and focuses on three "common concerns:" (1) repeating words and phrases over and over; (2) inappropriate or repetitive questions; and (3) trouble in using pronouns. Unfortunately, however, (despite some remarks to the contrary), Book II says that most totally blind children have problems such as this. I hope that the next revision makes it clear that these are problems which sometimes occur.
Special funding has made these booklets (and others being developed) available free in both English and Spanish. Write to: Blind Childrens Center, 4120 Marathon Street, P.O. Box 29159, Los Angeles, CA 90029-0159. The Blind Childrens Center is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the Delta Gamma Alumnae.
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