Hesperian Health Guides
Helping the Blind Child Find Her Way Without Holding On
Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!
Make a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.
Outside the home, often a blind child will let you lead her by the hand, but may be afraid to take steps or try to find her way alone.
To help her begin to walk alone, first lead her over the area where you want her to walk. Show her and let her feel the different landmarks (posts, trees, bushes, houses) along the way.
Do you remember what we go by here?
Yes, a big log!
And I smell those flowers, too!
|A good way to guide a child by the hand is to let her hold one finger and walk a step behind you.|
Come on - I'm here!
Good for you!
I remember this part.
It's where the path gets rocky.
That's right, dear. You have a good memory!
|Now walk over the same path, but this time walk backward in front of her, and talk to her while you are walking.||When she feels comfortable with your walking in front of her, start walking behind her. Have her tell you the landmarks.|
Little by little make yourself less and less needed. Speak less and let her go farther away from you.
Finally let her go the whole way alone. Start by having her walk short distances. Then gradually go farther, with more turns and other things to remember.
When she has progressed this far, the child will have the joy of knowing she can solve some problems alone. She will be ready to learn new things, meet other difficulties, and explore new areas.
|Sometimes the child will fall. Have her practice this by falling on soft ground. Teach her to put out her hands and bend her knees as she falls. She will be less likely to hurt herself.|
|The child needs to learn to ‘see’ with her feet, and to be prepared for unexpected things in her way. Play games with her. Tell her you have put some things in her path. See if she can get past them without slipping or falling.||Help the child to recognize how the sound of her footsteps (or her stick) changes when she is near a house or wall, and when there is open space. With practice, she can learn to tell the distance from things by the sounds.|