Description of Assessment and Instruction of Object Permanence in Children with Blindness and Multiple Disabilities
Structured abstract: Introduction: This article discusses the impact of blindness and low vision on the development of object permanence and provides suggestions for assessment and instruction. Methods: The reviewed literature was identified by searching both ERIC and Psych Info using combinations of search terms such as object permanence and visual impairment or low vision and blindness. Books, assessment tools, and nonpeer-reviewed literature were also reviewed. Results: Although children with low vision use vision as the basis to master object permanence, children who are blind rely primarily on their tactile experiences of objects. Recommended instructional practices include the consistent and repeated naming of the concealed object, concealment of motivating and varied objects, and direct reinforcement. Discussion: Direct instruction that is grounded in careful assessment may accelerate the mastery of object permanence, with unique strategies being applied to the instruction of children who are blind, including the coactive concealment of objects. Implications for practitioners: Practitioners may use the structured informal assessment and the identified items within commercially produced assessment tools to identify a child's current knowledge of object permanence. Practitioners may integrate the research-based and promising practices to improve instruction.