Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Ever Wanna Know...? My students give their answers on things the rest of should understand about being a teenager and having a vision impairment.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
You don’t need to be an Orientation and Mobility Specialist to begin helping you child with O&M skills. As a parent/caregiver there are many skills that you can establish and practice with your child on a daily basis. In formal O&M training, the O&M Specialist typically teaches specific skills before placing a cane in a child’s hand. These are called pre-cane skills. These skills are trailing, protective techniques, purposeful movement and the use of a pre-cane. Let’s break these skills down into simpler terms:
Purposeful movement is basically having an end goal to a movement. Moving for a purpose! For example reaching out for a toy, a cup when they are thirsty, or their mother’s voice, all of these actions show purposeful movement. At a young age we are primarily motivated to move by sight. We see the world around us and we want to explore. It is extremely important that you teach your child that there is a world outside of themselves. Start simple! Use musical items as mobiles for infants. Use a favorite toy and place it at arms reach rather than handing the toy to your child, let them reach out to it, caution this may take some patience. Set up a blanket or rug on the floor and put the toy in a corner and have the child scoot or crawl towards the toy. Have a small basket of toys (only with a few items) in the living or family room in the same location. First time basket is set up there let your child explore the area and the items that are located near the basket. It is best to have the basket by some items that can be used as landmarks (something that is unique, permanent, and tells the child where they are) such as the couch or the corner in the room where the fuzzy rug is, for example. Let the child move towards that area freely. These are huge steps towards an independent little traveler.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Indoor Fun This Winter Season
By Justin A. Haegele, APE Teacher
with Robbin Keating and her vision tips
It’s the middle of the winter and you are itching for some physical activity. Problem is, when you look outside there is about 3 feet of snow on the ground and it is -10 degrees. Not a problem, try one of these four indoor physical activities you can do in almost any home.
1. 1 Exergaming – Exergaming is the new phenomenon in video gaming, but not the type of sit down and work out your thumbs video games you may think of. Gaming systems such as the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinnect have created video games which respond to human body movements. Each system has a multitude of different games ranging from sports such as tennis or bowling as well as fitness programs like Wii fit. Studies are beginning to show that some vigorous exergaming experiences can expend as many calories as an equally long physical education class. Until recently, this may not have seemed to be an option for people who are blind or visually impaired, but some Wii games have modes which verbalize all instructions, allowing people to listen to instructions and follow along.
Vision Tip: If your child with the vision impairment has difficulty participating due to body awareness/movement for the game, try modeling by using hand under hand or allow them to feel your body so that they get the idea of how they are supposed to move their bodies. Another fun variation on this would be to play blindfolded against your child with the vision impairment! It can be really fun to play games under simulation. You can use a bandana for total blindness or bubble wrap for low vision.
2. Break out your Richard Simmons VHS – When people think of workout videos or DVD’s, the idea of the early 1990’s and spandex pants may pop into their minds. But there is a new wave of work out video, including very intense workouts such as P90X or Insanity which boast guarantees of fit bodies in short periods of time. Most workout videos include verbal step by step directions for people of all abilities to follow along. For those without a pile of old Taebo videos, youtube.com includes a collection of fitness video clips.
Vis ion tip: Again, take a moment to teach body positioning to your child to help them get into the activity. A lot of times I do the activity while my student puts their hands on me to get the idea. I have literally taught one of my teenage how to run by having him crouch down and feel my legs as I jogged in place. It was a learning experience with fun for him and a great little workout for me!
3. Try a new workout – Okay, not everyone has workout videos or is motivated by them. Why not find a new exercise routine online (without the need of weights) and give it a shot. Website such as bodybuilding.com boast massive exercise libraries which contain many options for stay at home workouts.
V ision tip: Try yoga with any age and almost any ability level child. We did yoga at night at our last Sports Adventure Weekend with our teenagers. We had students of varying physical abilities (including CP), deafblind and total vision loss students.
Here’s a link of one of thousands yoga sites. This one is simple yoga poses, http://yoga.lovetoknow.com/Slideshow:Simple_Yoga_Poses_for_Kids. Plus, you can do the P90 (not the X, he makes a regular one!) type workouts. They are actually pretty accommodating because he uses very simple workouts that don’t require a lot of equipment or vision. It is something the whole family can do. It will just take a few pre-teaching lessons to get body positioning correct.
4. The great house race – Being in this situation quite often, and having siblings, sometimes you need to come up with schemes to burn energy and have fun. Welcome the great house race! The only thing you need for this race is either a partner or a stop watch. This is how you play: Name something in the house that there are at least three of (walls, door knobs, facets, puppies) and race to be the first one to touch all of them. You do not have a partner? It’s a race against time. Keep your best time and beat your score. (Hidden benefit: The great house race offers orientation practice for your student or child with visual impairments or blindness).
Vision Tip: This is a great game for range of ages! Preschoolers eat this up and teenagers like the challenge (especially if family members play under simulation).