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Keywords:

  • children;
  • haptic exploration;
  • intellectual disabilities;
  • visual impairment

Abstract

This article provides a synthesis of literature pertaining to the development of haptic exploratory strategies in children who have visual impairment and intellectual disabilities. The information received through such strategies assumes particular significance for these children, given the restricted information available through their visual modality, often in combination with additional sensory and/or physical impairments. The literature reviewed from early child development highlights the importance of independent activity in the development of exploratory strategies, as well as the pivotal role of vision in ‘mediating’ information received through the haptic modality. In translating these findings to children who have visual impairment and intellectual disabilities, the role of the child's learning partner assumes greater significance in ensuring that haptic information is appropriately ‘mediated’ to meet the child's individual needs. The implications for developing appropriate developmentally paced intervention approaches are considered. A framework is outlined that seeks to account for the role of the child's adult partner in mediating haptic learning experiences to ensure they are appropriately structured and progressive.