Spatial Concepts I

The development of spatial concepts related to vision starts with hand regardand reaching, then by watching the toys falling and later the visual space becomeslarger and larger and the child becomes interested in more distant objects.

31. The development of awareness of the visual structureof the environment can be enhanced by using play mats and play things with good visualand tactile contrasts.
This is the play mat that I sew when we had learned inour experimental work that tactile and visual informationcompete in the associative cortical functions.
If vision is poor, those cells that should combine visual and tactile informationare overtaken by tactile information.
Therefore this play mat was designed so that where there is visual border there isalso tactile border. Thus these two informations coinside. A number of play matslike this have been sewn afterwards. However, a play mat does not need to look exactlylike this, only the basic principle is important: the use of both rough and smoothsurfaces and light colours and dark colours to

create tactile and visual contrasts that coinside.
This kind of play mat with numerous surfaces is suitable for an infant whose visualimpairment is related to eyes and anterior visual pathways.

32. If a child's visual impairment is related to braindamage, the amount of both visual and tactile information needs to be reduced notto overstimulate the child.

33. Bringing hands to the midline and giving the infanta large colourful object in the midline helps the child the develop the concept ofvisual midline.
It is important in the further development of motor functionsand in the development of spatial concepts.

34. As a part of baby gymnastics we can create a smallthree dimensional space with the child's own body when the infant explores his/herfeet with his/her hands. The feet are too far to be clearly seen
( Photo A-MHartman 1983).

35. Sometimes these play situations activate an infantto use vision, even when there has been no visual functioning noticed before.
This infant did not first look in the direction of the bright red ball but was listeningvery carefully and touching the ball (for the first time in his life) with his fingertips.

36. When the child was given firmer haptic informationabout the object in the midline the infant looked pleased.

37. Then his body and feet were studied with his hands.The hands were moved slowly and at the same time the infant was told what he wasdoing. Note the very concentrated expression of the infant.

38.After the previous play situation, when a glistening Christmas tree decoration wasbrought close to his eyes he, for the first time in his life, looked at it and enjoyedusing his vision.

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