Description of Research Report: Understanding the Emotional Needs of Children Who Are Blind
The emotional development of young children who are blind may be at risk because of constraints on the children's capacity to share and respond to the feelings of others. In typical development, eye contact and voice contact are integral to first relationships (Trevarthen & Aitken, 2001). When children cannot see, they are dependent on familiar voices and experiences in interaction to understand themselves in relation to others (Loots, Devise, & Sermijn, 2003). Although the lack of vision may influence other aspects of their development (Ophir-Cohen, Ashkenazy, Cohen, & Tirosh, 2005), it is the lack of early social experience that may lead to long-term difficulties in social understanding (Brown, Hobson, Lee, & Stevenson, 1997). These findings in the literature highlight the challenges for caregivers to interact in ways that enable children who are blind to understand more about themselves and others (Preisler, 1997; Recchia, 1997).