Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Fairy God-Mother Syndrome

 Have you ever heard of the “Fairy God-Mother Syndrome”? Apparently it is a syndrome blind children can form when they begin to think that their toys magically appear and disappear without their having any control over this; so they do not try to get them for themselves but instead wait to have them handed to them and when they are removed they are just “gone”. Studies show that instead of taking a toy away from them or placing it in their hands you should rattle or bang the toy a few inches away from them allowing them to focus in on where the object is at using their hearing and feel for it to find it for themselves.  Doing this when giving them toys and taking them away allows them to attain them for themselves when a toy falls out of reach or when they want to find a toy to play with.  This encourages them that they have control over getting their toy themselves instead of it “magically appearing or disappearing” when you remove it.  They also suggest that if you are going to give them the toys instead of sitting them down and allowing them to feel around for them, to make a certain noise when you are bringing the toy up and placing it in their hand so that each time they hear the noise they know a toy is coming.  Some children have been known to mimic the noise to tell the parent that they want the toy.  Since Liam is not completely blind and he is able to see his toys pretty well when his glasses are on we do not have to make noises when giving them to him. We do however have to watch when we give him things from his right side since he has a slight blind spot/zone on that side he tends to lose things in that vision field. We also make sure we surround his area with different textured toys so that he can find and attain for himself the one he wants without us giving them directly to him. If a toy falls out of his sight and we can see that he is searching for it we try to use the toy to make noise so that he will follow the noise to the toy himself rather than giving it right back to him.  This has definitely improved Liam’s self-help skills and I thought this was good advice for parents of any time of visually impaired or non-visually impaired child to know so I thought I’d share.

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