3:14 pm, Friday, 17th September 2021

My Time to Play for children with sight loss

Guide Dogs’ My Time to Play is a free service that helps children with sight loss aged from birth to four develop a broad range of skills through play in a group setting (both in-person and online).

As a parent, being in a group means you’ll be able to meet people who are in a similar situation and share experiences with them.

You’ll also pick up the skills and knowledge that will help you support your child’s early years development with confidence.

The programme focuses on five key areas of your child’s development:

  1.  Concept development – concepts form many rules in routines, such as the concept of time – when we eat, sleep and play; support actions such as placing a teddy bear on a chair or a ball into a box; and spatial awareness of something being in front or behind. Concepts also help when describing things, for example their pillow being soft or the table being hard.
  2. Sensory skills – your child can learn so much about the world around them using their other senses. Touch and sound can be key to helping them move around and participate in activities, so it’s crucial they feel confident exploring different textures, sounds and smells. Senses also play a key part in understanding movement – whether walking fast or slow, bending, stretching or off-balance.
  3. Fine and gross motor skills – to become a confident little mover and explorer, your child needs to develop a broad range of movements and skills. From rolling, sitting and crawling to walking, or reaching out to grasp their favourite teddy, using a spoon and taking a drink, or helping to put their clothes on. Many of these early movement skills are visually motivated, so your child may need a little bit more help.
  4. Self-help for children – it doesn’t take long for your child to take their first steps towards independence, starting with holding their bottle. With a little help, this can soon develop to feeding themselves with their fingers, learning to brush their teeth and helping when you’re dressing them.
  5. Communication skills – communicating in a way that your child understands is vital, especially if they’re unable to see visual cues and information. You may need to give your child more verbal information and description during play and other activities, so they can develop their early communication and language skills. 

Register on Guide Dogs website. Early years development and habilitation | Guide Dogs.