Sometimes professionals will say that blind children develop at a slower rate than their sighted peers as result of their blindness. I disagree with this statement, but reluctantly have to say they are partly right depending on how you interpret this statement. Let me explain what I mean. In situations where you have a child who has no other cognitive or developmental issues other than the fact they are blind, I believe there should be no reason this child can’t develop at the same rate as their sighted peers. But, sometimes blindness does cause for some developmental delays for the wrong reasons. It’s not that blindness makes the child unable to develop, but rather that blindness just presents a barrier that needs to be overcome with some different methods. Sometimes families just don’t know how to overcome these barriers, and some professionals just buy into low expectations about blindness.
Here is another way to think of that statement. Imagine someone set a large bowl of (insert favorite flavor here please) ice cream in front of you. But they didn’t give you a spoon. It’s not that you don’t want to eat the ice cream, or that you are not able to eat the ice cream, you just need the right tool. So, next time someone tells you your child can’t do something because of blindness or that they are going to be slower than a sighted child, think of this analogy. Maybe the right spoon just hasn’t been introduced yet.