Young children with visual impairments must rely on their other senses -- smell, touch, taste, and sound -- to learn about their environment. This is important to remember when teaching a visually impaired child a new skill. Vision is heavily involved as preschool children learn new skills such as math. However, there are several ways you can design activities to help visually impaired children grasp these concepts.
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A child with visual impairments will likely have difficulty learning to recognise numbers. There are several ways to make this easier. Find or make large individual foam numbers from 0 to 9. Use bright colours to help them stand out against the background of the table. Children can use tactile sensation, or touch, to feel the shape of the number while also looking at it. Guide the child's arm and practice "drawing" the shape of the number in the air.
Teach visually impaired children to count by using manipulatives such as large blocks or beads. Have the child pick up the item and drop it into a large bowl or bucket. Instruct the child to count out loud as he hears each item hit the bottom of the container.
Use an abacus to teach visually impaired preschoolers basic addition skills. Have the child sit close to the table with the brightly coloured abacus in front of her. Guide the child's hand as she slides one bead at a time to the opposite end. Speak the math problem out loud as the desired number of beads are moved. The child can then use her fingers to count the number of beads at the opposite end.
Visually impaired children rely on sound to learn different concepts. Sound can be used to teach math skills through songs, rhymes and storytelling. Have the child speak or sing along to reinforce this learning method.
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