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for the Blind

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how to teach my blind two year old to walk

I am in need of some answers from parents or individuals who have direct experience in my problems. My son was born at 25 weeks and developed ROP. His doctor says that he is completely blind. My son is developementally behind fo his age. I want to know is it common for blind toddlers not to be walking at 2. He also doesnt speak recognizable words. His mental capacity seems to be ok. I get so fraustrated because I want him to do all these things that I think that a two year old should be doing and it breaks my heart because I dont want him to fall behind too much. I want him to go to preschool and feel secure and happy but how if he cant walk or talk? He has the ability to do these things, how do I help him?

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Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

My son is almost 2. He was born at 23 weeks and has severe ROP. He has a vision, occupational, and physical therapist that come twice a week. Grady has been pulling himself up, crawling, and cruising furniture for several months, but he does not seem to have the confidence to take any steps or even stand without assistance. Instead, he will get down on the floor and crawl to whatever gets his attention. Hoping that he gets the courage soon! God bless your little ones, they are all God's tiny miracles!

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

Hello my name is KaTina and I have a son which was born at 23 weeks gestation..actually I had twins. My first born survive for 6 weeks; however, my second born has survived for 5 years an counting. He has ROP, nonverbal, nor does he walk. And I've found myself here at this site, not so much of looking for answers but hoping to be enlightened in the areas of getting him to speak and to walk on his owns. He get around either on my hip or with a gait trainer. Though I am looking for ideas/ways to motivate him to build the courage or confidence in himself to venture out stepping on his own. And also strategies in getting some vocalization going. If anyone have ideas, ways, or advice feel free to email me at I look forward to all information whether helpful in your view or not. Thanks

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

My name is Erin Kaiser. I have a 14 month old with Bilateral ONH and Hypotonia. Brock was born almost competely blind, but can now see about 4 to 5 feet. Brock was late wit everything and didnt sit up until he was 9months old after he received tubes in his ears. I would get very frustrated because I never thought he would do anything. At 1 year he started to pull himself up, then at 13 months he started eating table food, feeding himself, and crawling. It was like one day someone turned on a light bulb in his head. Just continue to pray and work with the baby, everything will be fine.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

hello. my son was born with a tethered cord and CVI was diagnosed shortly after birth. he has had some visual recovery but is 15 months and still cannot sit, crawl, walk. my EI team keeps assuring me that with time and work he will progress and that these delays are related to the visual impairment. the hardest thing is to remember that he is on his own time table, not that of a typical child. my advice is to work every day with your child and if its going to happen it will.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

i have a 18 month old daughter who was born with Bilateral microphthalmia. she is not walking as yet, but she is willing. she wil hold on to anything and walk around.she is he best thing that ever happen to me.

Re:bilateral anophthalmia

Sara H. and Hillary W.,
My name is Sheila and I have an 8 year old daughter who also has bilateral anophthalmia. I am also a moderator on a private message board on Yahoo for families of children with bilateral anophthalmia. We currently have over 80 families as members, and it is a great place to share, learn, and ask questions. If you would like more information on this group please email me at :

Sheila M.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

Sara H,
I just read about your child born with bilateral anophthalmia and wanted you to know you are not alone. My daughter is almost two and has been diagnosed with the same condition. I would love to email back and forth with any questions or advice or tips and tricks each of us may have. I am struggling to get my little girl to stand up on her own, much less take a step. I would love to hear from another mother!
Hillary W.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

Hi everyone:
I just found this website. I have an 18 month old daughter named Hazel who was born with no eyes. She is not walking on her own yet. She has been getting servives through early intervention ever since she was one month old. She says alot of words and sings all the nurserry rhymes but she dose not relate any words to the objects. she knows how to say mom but she never calls me mom. I want to know if there is anyone out there who has a child with the same diagnosis as my Hazel (bilatheral Anopthamia) who has gone or going throgh this and can help me.
Sara H.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

iI have ROP and am 33 years old. I asked my mom how she taught me to walk. She told me that I was very attached to mommy and would do anything to be with her so she would walk a few steps from the furnature and call me. She was my main motivation. Then when I started walking, she noisely played with things to catch my attention. Her other tip was that whenever I was about to bump into anything she'd say "Chrissy boom boom" instead of running to my aid. Making a blind child go and get thing for him or herself is very important. It not only teaches mobility but sets a correct attitude. I have four children, who are sighted, and all of them have been different and some did not like to learn to walk.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

I know the feeling of having a newborn child born blind
I have a granddaughter born april 1st 2006 that was born blind But I would love to share with you my story below.

my granddaughter born April 01-06 named Faith when she was born I could see she was blind, My Daughter Angel took her to see the Dr's and they at first said because she was 3 weeks early it was late maturation/development.

She was also born with a pda, hearing problem, and one side of her heart was bigger

I started working on her as soon as the Dr's had made a diagnoses of her problems of what I had seen and about 2 weeks latter she was taken back to the Dr and they said she has no pda and her heart is fine

She had to then go see the pediatric eye Dr she was about a month old
My Daughter Angel and I and my niece Melissa went to see Dr Ruben at Kaiser

Angel had told him what she thought Faith was blind he said well most of the time parents come in to see him they don’t have anything to worry about but he said, I have to say you are right

she can not see nor does she blink he then ordered a special test for her to have done in san Francisco called an E.R.G.

I told him that day I'm a spiritual healer and no matter what the test say she will not be blind because I will work on her and he just looked at me

10-06-06 Faith is 6 months old she went to see Dr Ruben again Friday morning and he could not believe nor the nurses that she could see and she could blink and follow objects with her eyes

Dr Ruben told my daughter Angel she is able to see and has canceled the test in San Francisco
Angel said to him my mom told you she was a spiritual healer and he said I don’t believe in that but something for sure happened I've never see such a success and if your mom can do this I need her to come work for me.
you can contact me here if you wish
Love & Light

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

I know this is an old topic but I found it searching new ways to get my daughter who has ONH to walk and talk. She is turning two in 3 days and I just finished having a bit of a breakdown because she is not walking or really talking yet. She has all of the tools for walking and says a few words like mama and dada but I don't think she "Really" knows what they mean because she sings the words. I am so frustrated I cannot see straight. All of her ECI therapists thought because of the signs she would have been sure to be walking by now. Last month she stood up and took 3 steps but she refuses to do it again. I want so much for her to to be able to play, walk and talk just like any other child does. I love her so much and I have the same issues with school which she would normally start next year, how if not?

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

My son was also born blind, full term baby, but has a genetic condition we passed onto him. At 14 months he has taken his first steps, much to his delight. My opinion......give them confidence, let them move around and get the knocks.......confidence is the answer. We were told to accept he wouldn't until a minimum of 2 yrs.....but we have pushed him and it has worked. Being blind is not a reason for them to not walk, they still have feeling, sense and an ability to do it if they are encouraged.

All the best

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

My son was born at 24 weeks, 5 days and is blind from ROP. He will be 3 years old in one month and is finally starting to take steps on his own. He has been walking with our assistance for some time now, but has only recently begun to venture out on his own. He is quite severely delayed in all areas, but is finally feeding himself and walking. Now we have to get him to talk! Just give your child as much practice as possible.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

hello again, with an update, Aiko is now almost two and she did learn to walk and run.Early Childhood intervention comes to our house every week and theycan help recomend differant agencies to help.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

I am in the exact same situation. I know how frustrating it can be. My son is also 2 and was born at 25 wks, 1lb 4oz. He spent 177 days in the NICU. He's now walking yet but he's finally getting there. He's standing now and will walk, somehat with assistance. Please feel free to email me if I can help

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

I also have a 2 year old son that was born at 24 weeks, and he does crawl, and cruises around the furniture and pretty well knows his way around the house. We work with an occupational therapist and we were told to guide him through it on the floor crawling with him, holding his arms to touch things and alot of encouragement on your part. In time he will get it I thought we never would either but it is possible. Good luck.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

I would agree with everything Dr. Fazzi and Dr. Ferrell have said. I totally understand your concerns and worries as a parent when it seems as though your child is not doing what he should be doing at a particular time. But it is so important to remember that all children develop at their own pace and that there is typically a delay in many motor skills for children with a visual impairment. Walking is one of those motor areas. I would be interested if he has shown any delays in other motor skills such as rolling over, sitting, crawling, pulling up, etc. Many of these other skills are important muscle builders needed for successful walking. I would agree that getting assessments from an orientation and mobility specialist and an occupational or physical therapist would be helpful in understanding if your child's motor skills are related to his visual impairment or some other reason. Your child's prematurity definitely needs to be taken into consideration as well.

The more movement experiences you can provide your child in the regular routines of the day will be the most helpful in developing his muscle tone, strength, coordination, and interest in exploring his world. Again. I would encourage you to get the early intervention services that are available for you and your child. You might also want to get a copy of a book co-edited by myself and Diane Fazzi: Early Focus: Working with Young Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired and Their Families (second edition) from AFB Pres. This book will give you much information on early development in the areas of language, motor, etc. and the impact of visual impairment. Having a bigger picture may be helpful. I encourage you to stay positive. As Kay Ferrell said, your son WILL learn. Your love and support will help the most. Best of luck in finding the support you need.

Re: how to teach my blind two year old to walk

You can find early intervention services in your area by going to">The Directory of Services on AFB's web site ( You can select "Early Intervention" from the Services dropdown and your state (if you're in the US) from the States dropdown. There is one key state agency for early intervention in each state, and if you tell me which state you're in, I can tell you where it is.

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

I agree with Dr. Fazzi--you are entitled to early intervention services for your son. Regardless of when your son walks, he WILL go to school and he WILL learn.

You might want to visit AFB's Directory of Services elsewhere on this site to find an early intervention program in your area. If you don't find a specific program in your area, contact your local school and ask if them to help you find an early intervention program. If you do have a program already, I'd follow Dr. Fazzi's advice about the type of professional who might help.

What I'd like to say, however, is that developmental age norms are relative--when you hear about an age when children usually acquire a skill (such as walking), it's important to remember that it is probably a MEDIAN age. That means that half the children acquired the skill before that age, and half acquired the skill after that age. Children with visual impairment most likely acquire developmental milestones within the same range as do typically-developing children. It may SEEM "delayed," but that's a relative term.

Remember that most children learn developmental milestones by watching other children and adults. Your son doesn't have that opportunity. There are other ways that he can learn the same skills, however - and that's how someone who is experienced working with young children with visual impairment might be able to help--by showing you how to create opportunities for learning in other ways.

Besides, your son was born at 25 weeks' gestation. In my mind, he started out behind. Since he probably spent several weeks in the hospital following birth, I'm not surprised at all that he's not walking! In my experience, things begin to click around age 3, but you do want to be sure that nothing else is going on--it's not uncommon for babies with your son's history to have additional medical problems.

I think the most important thing is not to make assumptions. Blindness affects HOW a child learns, not WHAT he can learn. He will learn differently, but he will learn. Provide the same opportunities that you would provide to ANY child--and follow your instincts. They got you this far!

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

The first thing that I would ask is if you have contacted any professionals in the field of visual impairment in your area about early intervention services. You have a right to have services, most likely provided in your home, to support your child's development and to answer the many questions that you have.

I can try to provide some general answers, but I don't know your individual child. Getting early intervention services will help to ensure that the person answering your questions can tailor them to your child's individual strengths and needs. You want to make sure to request an orientation and mobility specialist and probably an occupational or physical therapist. Also, a teacher of students with visual impairments to address the communication concerns that you have.

It is not uncommon for children who are blind to start walking later than what might be expected for children who are sighted. Everyone has his or her own "timeframe" for achieving developmental milestones that parents so look forward to. Someone earlier mentioned that their grandchild skipped the crawling stage and that happens frequently, but not always. There is commonly a "delay" in walking and other movement skills for children who are blind, partially we think because of the lack of vision as a motivator for movement and for some related low motor tone issues.

I'm afraid that I haven't given you a specific answer because I don't actually know your child, but I am sure that if you can get some early intervention services that you will move forward and continue to make progress as your child grows.

Hope you found something helpful!

Re:how to teach my blind two year old to walk

My great granddaugter is 9 months old.She was born blind,her optic nerves never developed and the docters told us their is nothing they can do to help her.I learned on line that a blind baby will not crawl and it is true in our case our baby will not lay on her tummy even for a minute with out screaming. But she does try to walk when we hold her under her arms. I will keep you in our prayers and hope your baby does well.Keep looking on the internet for help.I keep searching for info and sometimes i find it

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