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Development Charts for Blind & Visually Impaired Babies & Children

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Ivan playing with a toy

Watching your child grow and fall behind traditional development charts can be difficult. You understand that it's normal for blind babies to develop at a slower pace, but how slow is normal... and how slow is too slow?

Using three sources (Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairment: A Manual for Early Intervention, Helping Children Who are Blind, and Children with Visual Impairments), we've compiled development charts in five different areas that tell you what skills your blind or visually impaired child should have at certain age groups:

 
 
 

These are, of course, just guidelines. Use these charts as a checklist so you can identify your child's strengths and weaknesses and develop your own Baby Workout Program. The goal here is that your child always move forward. All children, especially those with special needs, develop at their own rate, but we always want to see them progressing. If you notice your child regressing or moving backwards, talk to your doctor right away.


 

Social & Emotional Development Chart
for blind & visually impaired babies & children
Age Group Milestones
Birth to 3 months Recognizes caregiver's voice
Can be soothed by voice or touch
Smiles when played with
4 to 6 months Initiates request for attention
7 to 9 months Differentiates between familiar & unfamiliar people
Shows stranger anxiety
Shows fear of separation
10 to 12 months Uses gestures
Cries when caregiver leaves
Begins to enjoy social games like peek-a-boo
22 to 24 months Imitates caregiver
Plays alongside other children
Asks others when needs help
3 years Enjoys helping around the house
Likes to be praised after doing simple tasks
Is aware of people's feelings
5 years Plays with other children
Understands rules
Expresses many feelings

Click here to download a printable version of the Social & Emotional Development Chart.



 

Communication Development Chart
for blind & visually impaired babies & children
Age Group Milestones
Birth to 3 months Differentiated cries (has different cries for different wants)
Responds to familiar voices
Reacts to sudden sounds
Ignores certain sounds & attends to others
4 to 6 months Turns toward sound
Makes 3 different vowel sounds
Imitates vocalization
7 to 9 months Produces vowel-consonant combinations (ex. ga-ga or ba-ba)
Recognizes familiar sounds or phrases
10 to 12 months Uses gestures
Responds appropriately to familiar requests
Jabbers expressively
Begins to name things
13 to 15 months Anticipates routines in response to a familiar request
Uses 2 words appropriately
16 to 18 months Uses words to make wants known
19 to 21 months Uses 8 words appropriately
Strings 2 words together (ex. "ma-ma bye-bye")
22 to 24 months Uses 2 & 3 word sentences
3 years Understands most simple language
Communicates clearly
5 years Talks about what he or she has done
Asks many questions

Click here to download a printable version of the Communication Development Chart.



 

Cognitive Development Chart
for blind & visually impaired babies & children
Age Group Milestones
Birth to 3 months Recognizes primary caregiver
Plays with rattle
Cries when hungry or uncomfortable
4 to 6 months Turns toward sound
Places objects in mouth
Shows preference in play materials
Reaches for object in contact with body
7 to 9 months Explores different textures
Uncovers toy
Pulls string to activate toy
Searches briefly for object lost from grasp but not in contact with body
Reaches for object based only on sound cue
Places object in container upon request
10 to 12 months Moves or gestures toward you when called
Locates fixed (constant) object (ex. Highchair, table, etc.)
Puts many objects in container
Learns that an object exists even if out of sight
Works to solve simple problems
Begins to understand cause & effect
13 to 15 months Uses 2 related objects (ex. strikes drum with stick)
Uses object to perform social action (ex. brushes hair, puts on necklace, etc.)
22 to 24 months Matches objects
Pays attention to activities longer
3 years Fits shapes into matching holes
Sorts objects
Takes things apart & puts them together
5 years Follows simple directions & does simple puzzles
Understands counting

Click here to download a printable version of the Cognitive Development Chart.



 

Fine Motor Development Chart
for blind & visually impaired babies & children
Age Group Milestones
Birth to 3 months Plays with hands
Uses hands for purposeful action
Retains object placed in hand
Plays with toys that produce sound
4 to 6 months Reaches for object in contact with body with 1 hand (rather than 2)
Places objects in mouth
Uses pads of fingertips to grasp small objects
Transfers object from hand to hand
Brings object to midline
Pulls objects out of container
7 to 9 months Explores different textures
Places object in container
Pulls string to activate toy
Plays pat-a-cake
10 to 12 months Places one peg repeatedly into hole
22 to 24 months Stacks large objects
3 years Uses hands for complex tasks
Throws a ball
5 years Copies simple shapes

Click here to download a printable version of the Fine Motor Development Chart.



 

Gross Motor Development Chart
for blind & visually impaired babies & children
Age Group Milestones
Birth to 3 months Holds head steady while being moved

Lifts head up when on belly
Elevates self by arms when on belly (totally blind or LP only babies may not do this until after they roll from back to belly)
4 to 6 months Sits with some support
Rolls from belly to back, from back to belly
Sits alone steadily
Pulls to standing (while holding your hands)
Moves forward through crawling, creeping, or any other method
7 to 9 months Pulls self to sitting position
Pulls to standing position (using furniture)
Sits down
Attempts to walk (while holding your hand)
Creeps forward on hands and knees 3 feet or more
Takes coordinated steps (while holding your hand)
10 to 12 months Stands alone
Bends down to pick up object
Walks sideways holding on to furniture
Walks alone (3 steps)
Walks alone with good coordination (5 steps)
Pushes small obstacles out of the way
Walks about house or yard independently
13 to 15 months Moves around large obstacle
Walks up stairs with help, down stairs with help
22 to 24 months Squats
3 years Runs, jumps, climbs
5 years Easily walks backwards
Hops on 1 foot

Click here to download a printable version of the Gross Motor Development Chart.

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Not on Facebook? Post your comments here:

Posted by Katie Roller on Apr 07, 2012 - 7:21pm

Thank you so much for having these available! My 3 month old was just diagnosed with anaridia (no iris') and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). It is so reassuring to see that he is right on track in all these areas. Thanks again :-)

Posted by Anonymous on May 07, 2012 - 12:27pm

My child is 12months old, his head has not controlled, he is still not even trying to crawl or sit, but trying to stand little by little. Doctor says his muscle stone is hypo tonic and give physiotherapy. Could you please suggest about physiotherapy and how often to give, could please give a mile stone of my baby.

Posted by Anonymous on Jan 15, 2013 - 7:35am

My 6 month old son is blind he is coming along great this information made my day because I thought he was behind in development thanks very much!

Posted by
Sarah
on Jan 29, 2014 - 12:58pm

Our daughter (with LCA) was one who was even further behind on her gross motor thanthese charts show, simply because ... she's cautious.

She didn't crawl until 15 months old (she started scooting at 10 months), and didn't take her first steps until she was 26 months old. We worked with her every single day, and she was in physical therapy for 20 months before she took her first steps. She was physically ready to at 16 months, but it took her another 10 until she was ready to bear the falls.

I have heard of other stories where blind children were not ready to walk independently until 2 or even 3 years of age. I'm not saying this is "normal," but quite frankly, I don't know what to call it.

For us, we (her PT included) believe it was simply her temperment and willingness to take risks. I think these cases are something to make note of.

Posted by Anonymous on May 14, 2014 - 6:49pm

My child has low vision and was very cautious of walking without help til 13months . I think this chart is well advanced for a child with low vision it's that more amazing for a blind child omg

Posted by
Rae Jimenez
on Jun 09, 2014 - 2:26pm

Hi.

Thank for these charts available. I have a cousin who is 4 months old and was recently diagnosed with Bilateral Visual Impairment secondary to Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. The family is still adjusting but we will be starting to bring her to therapies soon. Hopefully she can catch up with her development. From her recent assessment, doctor said that she has a developmental delay because of the visual impairment. These charts will be so helpful in monitoring her progress.