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Keywords:

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

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Development of early haptic exploratory abilities
  5. Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development
  6. Implications for developing intervention approaches
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

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.


Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Development of early haptic exploratory abilities
  5. Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development
  6. Implications for developing intervention approaches
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Haptic perception has been defined as perception that relates to the sense of touch (e.g. McLinden 1999; McLinden & McCall 2002) with the term ‘haptics’ deriving from the Greek word haptein, which means ‘to touch’ or ‘to be able to lay hold of’ (Appelle 1991). ‘Haptic exploratory strategies’ therefore describe the particular ways in which touch is used to discriminate and recognise objects and other tactile features from ‘actively’ handling them as opposed to looking at them (Bushnell & Boudreau 1993; McLinden & McCall 2002; McLinden 2004). The ways in which children with visual impairment make use of haptic exploratory strategies to find out about their environment have been relatively well researched (for example, in relation to the learning of Braille), although most studies reported in the literature have been undertaken with children who do not have additional disabilities (McLinden & McCall 2002). This article builds on an earlier review (McLinden 1999) to synthesise elements of more recent literature pertaining to the development and promotion of these exploratory strategies in children who have visual impairment and intellectual disabilities (IDs).

The information received through the haptic modality assumes particular significance for these children (McLinden & McCall 2010), with the limited information available through their visual sense, often in combination with additional sensory and/or physical impairments, resulting in ‘reduced capacity to detect; interpret, and interact with the people and items’ in their environment, thereby restricting the child's exploration and therefore his or her understanding of the world (Goold & Hummell 1993, p. 8). Understanding how children with a visual impairment and IDs receive and process information through haptic perception has particular relevance therefore to practitioners involved in assessment and planning intervention approaches. This includes practitioners engaged in developing and promoting symbolic communication systems that have a tactile component, including, for example, ‘tangible symbols’ (Rowland & Schweigert 1989), ‘object symbols’ (Bloom 1990), ‘objects of reference’ (Lee & MacWilliam 1995; Ockelford 2002), ‘touch-speech cues’ (Goold & Hummell 1993) and ‘tactile symbols’ (Hendrickson & McLinden 1996).

There is broad agreement in the literature that haptic perception can be considered as a discrete perceptual modality with a broad distinction made between the information that is processed through the visual and tactual senses respectively (McLinden 1999; McLinden & McCall 2002). Indeed, Klatzky et al. (1987) propose that haptic encoding can be described as having ‘an inherent bias towards the way objects feel, and not towards how they might look’ (p. 367). A number of classification schemes have been outlined in the literature to describe the range of haptic strategies used to explore objects (e.g. Revesz 1950; Zinchenko & Lomov 1960; Davidson & Gershenfield 1974; Appelle 1991). The work of Klatzky and Lederman has been particularly influential in making explicit the links between these strategies in relation to specific object properties through a series of experimental research studies, investigating the perceptual abilities of the hands with ‘mature’ adult explorers (e.g. Klatzky et al. 1985, 1987; Lederman & Klatzky 1987; Klatzky & Lederman 1993). This work has demonstrated a link between hand movement profiles and the perception of specific object properties, grouping these into distinctive exploratory procedures (EPs). An EP is as defined as ‘a stereotyped pattern of hand movement’ that maximises the sensory input corresponding to a certain object property and is considered to have ‘certain characteristics that are invariant and others that are highly typical’ (Lederman & Klatzky 1987, p. 344). Lederman & Klatzky (1987) proposed that certain classes of hand movements could be related to distinct dimensions of desired knowledge about objects and as such these exploratory movements could serve as ‘windows through which the haptic system can be viewed’ (p. 344). A summary of the six EPs linked to the corresponding hand movement profiles and the perception of objects properties is presented in Table 1.

Table 1.  Range of exploratory procedures (EPs) and examples of object properties perceived through corresponding hand movement profiles (adapted from Lederman & Klatzky 1987)
Name of EPExample of hand profileExamples of properties perceived through EP
1. Lateral motionRubbing fingers across the surface of objectTexture
2. PressureSqueezing or poking an objectHardness
3. Static contactFingers static on the surface of objectTemperature
4. EnclosureHolding or grasping an object with handVolume 3D/size
5. Unsupported holdingHolding object unsupported in handWeight
6. Contour followingTracing along the contours of an object with the fingersShape of object contours

The EPs outlined in Table 1 relate to mature adult explorers who have a range of motor abilities to draw upon. As reported below, they can therefore be considered as the ‘outcomes’ of a sophisticated process of early haptic development.

Development of early haptic exploratory abilities

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Development of early haptic exploratory abilities
  5. Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development
  6. Implications for developing intervention approaches
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Improvements in the haptic exploratory abilities of infants following a normal course of development are well documented in the literature (e.g. Piaget 1953; Warren 1982; Gibson 1988; Bushnell & Boudreau 1993; Exner & Henderson 1995). The work of Piaget (1953) has been central in laying the foundations for current theories of early haptic development, particularly the importance of exploratory activity and its role in cognitive development. Exner & Henderson (1995) have highlighted two components considered to be fundamental to the ‘Piagetian view’:

  • 1
    object manipulation is critical in order for the child to learn about the individual properties of an object;
  • 2
    mental activity is considered to be more likely to occur when the child is actively involved in manipulation of objects than when the child is passive.

As Bushnell & Boudreau (1993) report, a main tenet of Piaget's theory of intelligence is that representational thought evolves from overt activities with objects during infancy, and they propose ‘that the emergence of particular motor abilities may actually determine some aspects of perceptual and cognitive development, rather than the other way around’ (p. 1006).

As noted by Lochman (1986), in contrast to the Piagetian ‘view’ is a developmental model outlined by J. J. Gibson, within which it is postulated that action is not prior to perception, but that perceptual information is ‘actively sought through co-ordinated systems of action, some of which are already functioning in this capacity at birth’ (Lochman 1986, p. 25). Within this model, the course of development of perceptually based knowledge is considered to be an ‘orderly’ one, and as new exploratory systems develop, new action systems emerge which make new tasks possible. Gibson (1988) proposed that learning about the affordances of objects entailed ‘exploratory activities’ (p. 5), and through such active exploration an infant learns about the particular properties of objects, for example, texture, shape, weight and substance, proposing that ‘a sequence of acts termed exploratory will have some outcome and will not be random. It will have a perceptual aspect, a motor aspect, and a knowledge-gathering aspect’ (p. 5). The model also makes a clear distinction between an action that is executive (e.g. reaching, grasping, locomotion, etc.) and action that is information-gathering (i.e. linked to the perceptual systems), although it is acknowledged that the distinction is not rigid given that executive functions, such as lifting, could also be ‘informative’ (i.e. exploratory).

Gibson proposed that in contrast to Piaget's first stage of the sensorimotor period, although the possibilities for executive actions were ‘minimal’ in very young infants, the opportunities for exploratory activities were available and were ‘used in functional ways even in the newborn’ (Gibson 1988, p. 6). The links between the role of executive actions in cognitive development are highlighted with particular consideration to the way they change ‘the affordances of things and places, providing new occasions for information-gathering and for acquiring knowledge environment (as) [. . .] new actions become possible, new affordances are brought about; both the information available and the mechanisms for detecting it increase’ (p. 7). It is argued that as the hands become increasingly active and controllable, ‘a whole new set of affordances is opened up for the baby's discovery; things can be displaced, banged, shaken, squeezed and thrown – actions that have informative consequences about an object's properties’ (p. 20).

A more recent developmental sequence outlined by Bushnell & Boudreau (1991, 1998) considers in some detail how these emerging manual exploratory activities can inform a child about particular object's properties. The sequence maps onto the full range of EPs proposed by Klatzky and Lederman, but was revised on the basis that ‘infants do not motorically execute the full range of movements encompassed by Klatzky and Lederman's EPs’ (Bushnell & Boudreau 1998, p. 4). Within this sequence, it is proposed that in order to perceive properties of objects with any precision, a developing infant must be able to perform a range of hand movements that are effective for the apprehension of that property, for example, rubbing a finger across the surface of an object to determine its texture. As an example, an infant between 0 and 3 months may be able to obtain certain types of haptic information about an object by ‘clutching’ it (for example, surface temperature and possibly size), but she or he would not yet be able to obtain accurate haptic information concerning, for example, the shape of the object. It is only when the infant has developed more sophisticated exploratory strategies, such as using one hand to hold the object and one to explore it, at about 12 months of age (described by Bushnell and Boudreau as complementary bimanual activity or CBA), that he or she may be able to determine the shape of an object.

The relevance of this sequence to children with visual impairment and IDs has been explored through empirical work and is reported as providing useful points of reference for comparing the haptic strategies observed in these children (e.g. McLinden & Douglas 2000; McLinden & McCall 2002; McLinden 2004). As an example, McLinden & McCall (2002) note that ‘although a child may have restricted physical abilities which serve as a barrier to wholly independent manipulation of an object, he or she may still be able to perform a range of actions which provide the child with information about the haptic properties of the objects’ (p. 46; italics added). Such a developmental model was not, however, considered to be sufficiently comprehensive to account for the wide range of factors that may influence the haptic interactions of older children with visual impairment and IDs who may be functioning at developmentally early stages of development (McLinden & Douglas 2000; McLinden 2004). Further, as reported by McLinden & McCall (2002), while offering helpful parameters within which to analyse manual behaviours, this sequence does not account for the significant role of vision in serving to coordinate the development of early haptic abilities. The implications of reduced visual input for early haptic development are considered below.

Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Development of early haptic exploratory abilities
  5. Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development
  6. Implications for developing intervention approaches
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

There is broad agreement in the literature that vision is an important ‘motivator that leads the hand into space and serves to facilitate grasp and manipulation’ (Pehoski 1995, p. 140), and that by the middle of the first year, ‘vision exerts significant control over hand activity’ (e.g. Warren 1982, p. 95). While the precise role of vision in early haptic development has not yet been fully ascertained, as illustrated below, there is evidence that its function is not as a substitute for haptic perception, but rather serves as a guide or ‘mediator’ of haptic perceptual activities. Although gaps in the literature have been identified, as noted by Rochat (1993), at around 6 months the infant's ‘behavioural organisation’ is affected by the emergence of self-sitting abilities, when the infant becomes capable of sitting without any external body support, a ‘conquest’ that ‘allows the hands to explore freely, and enlarges the field of visual exploration by providing new degrees of freedom to eyes–head–neck and truck articulations . . . It is also during this period that vision emerges as a dominant perceptual system, “supervising oral” and manual actions’ (p. 282).

Observations from experimental studies exploring the role of the emerging haptic system during the development of visually directed reaching reveal a complex and intricate relationship between the sensory systems (e.g. Ruff 1982; Hatwell 1987, 1990; Rochat 1989, 1993). For example, in considering the link between vision and early haptic exploration, Rochat (1989) proposed that vision could serve as a potential organiser of both multimodal exploration and object manipulation during early infancy, and the following sequence of development was suggested:

  • • 
    2/3 months – spontaneous interaction with a novel object begins with oral contact;
  • • 
    4 months – interaction with visual inspection; and
  • • 
    4 months plus – vision as initial modality of exploration with mouth still used to explore, and increasing multimodal (visual and haptic) organisation of exploration with vision playing an increasingly important role.

The role of the mouth in these early infant exploratory behaviours has been outlined by Rochat (1993), who proposed that ‘early eye–hand coordination (i.e. reaching) is part of a goal-oriented action that ends at the mouth. It generally includes visually guided reaching, hand-to-mouth transport, and in some particular instances, trunk–mouth coordination . . . hand–mouth coordination is among the earliest expressions of a behaviour that integrates different sensorimotor systems’ (p. 281).

In considering the combined role of the tactual and visual modalities, Ruff (1982) proposed a ‘dual role’ for handling objects, which highlighted the importance of haptic manipulation in learning about object characteristics through both tactual and visual modalities. It was argued that an infant's haptic manipulation of objects in combination with vision had two main advantages:

  • 1
    it allowed the infant to see the object from different view points and learn its properties;
  • 2
    the infant was able to acquire tactile and kinaesthetic information about the object through active touch.

Within this sequence, the visual system is viewed as guiding early exploratory behaviour in the haptic system, with an initial ‘tightening’ of visual control over manipulation at 5 months, and a ‘loosening’ after 9 months (Ruff 1982). There is support for the guiding role ascribed to vision during the early stages of development in later literature. For example, Stilwel & Cermak (1995) state that in using vision to guide early exploratory hand use, the purpose is not necessarily to substitute for haptic perception but rather to guide the development of haptic manipulation, and thereby make the input received through the hands meaningful. Further, Pehoski (1995) has proposed that in younger infants, vision has been shown to be ‘an integral part of the process of grasp and manipulation and in fact may be the early motivator for object exploration and drive some of the more refined manipulative actions such as fingering an object’ (p. 141). These findings tie in with the increasing sophistication observed within the haptic system during the first year of development, which, in combination with the developing visual system, serves to offer the infant more precise information about the properties of an object being manipulated.

It is reported by Warren (1994) that as vision has been shown to be so important in the integration of auditory/tactile stimuli in the young sighted child, it is reasonable to assume that restricted vision has implications for development in children who are blind. There is, however, a relatively limited body of literature regarding the impact of blindness on early haptic development with the reported evidence appearing contradictory. An example is presented in relation to a seminal study undertaken by Fraiberg (1977) using 10 infants who were congenitally blind and aged between 1 and 11 months. This work provides a rare example of a longitudinal study exploring the development of children who are blind over a period of 10 years. Before the study commenced, Fraiberg (1977) noted that the hands of the infants did not reach out to attain objects or to get information about them and ‘remained in a kind of morbid alliance with the mouth’ (p. 10). Fraiberg compared this behaviour with that found in sighted infants and suggested that the fingering games and organisation of the hands at midline were largely facilitated by vision, and that the tactile engagement of the fingers required simultaneous visual experience to ensure its repetition. The results of the study showed that the infants did not reach for objects on the cue of sound until the age of about 10 months compared with 4 or 5 months of age reported in relation to sighted infants. In addition, it was noted that the infants did not spontaneously bring their hands to midline for mutual fingering as found in a 4-month-old sighted infant, at which age it was reported that the infants demonstrated only chance midline hand encounters, demonstrating no coordination of the two hands until a number of months later.

In reviewing similar studies in this area, Warren (1994) notes that the research evidence concerning the development of manual behaviours in children with visual impairment is mixed, and although there is evidence of a possible developmental lag in some areas, these have not been shown to be of the same magnitude noted by Fraiberg. Further, he highlights the possible role of individual variance between the subjects in each of the studies reviewed, a factor which he suggests would have been particularly applicable to the work of Fraiberg, given the relatively small number of infants observed (n = 10).

Implications for developing intervention approaches

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Development of early haptic exploratory abilities
  5. Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development
  6. Implications for developing intervention approaches
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

There is an emerging corpus of literature that has, as its focus, the role of touch in the learning experiences of individuals with IDs (e.g. Davidson 1985; Nielsen 1998; Rogow 1988; Aitken & Buultjens 1992; Goold & Hummell 1993; McLinden 1999, 2004; Gale & Hegarty 2000; McLinden & Douglas 2000; McLinden & McCall 2002, 2010; Dobson et al. 2004; Hewett 2007; Rhodes & Hewett 2010). This emerging literature base serves to highlight not only the significance of touch when learning about the world, but also the importance of the environment in ensuring these experiences are appropriate to the individual needs. This can be illustrated through a summary of findings from two studies that have particular relevance to the focus of this review (Rogow 1987; Nielsen 1998).

Nielsen (1998) investigated ‘spatial relations’ in infants who were congenitally blind, a number of who were defined as being ‘mentally retarded’. She noted that when surrounded by a range of objects in their immediate environment, the children were able to touch and push toys but would not grasp them. Further, it was reported that some infants stopped picking up toys and ‘instead turned their activity to stereotyped behaviour with their own body’ (p. 14). Based on these observations, the research focused on determining how the environment could be organised for infants who were congenitally blind to encourage them to perform movements through which they could ‘get feedback about success and failure in connection with object and spatial relations’ (p. 20). The study was designed to observe which properties of the environment could improve the development of ‘spatial relations’, and measured the activities of the infants in a specially designed framework of pipes and panels called a ‘little room’. The activities were compared with measurements of the infants inside a control ‘frame’ from which the panels were removed. It was found that time spent in the ‘little room’ could benefit the infants in ‘facilitating their ability to perform spatial related activities and to improve within this field of development (p. 83). On the basis of these findings, a number of recommendations were made for future research to determine which properties of objects would produce ‘maximal attention’ in the blind infants (Nielsen 1998, p. 98), and which particular patterns of movement were necessary for tactual exploration.

A study by Rogow (1987) investigated the manual development of 148 children and adolescents aged 3–19 described as ‘blind’, ‘visually impaired’ and ‘visually impaired multi-handicapped’. It was noted that children with severe visual impairments had weak and uncoordinated hand movements, and were often passive, appearing to have little curiosity about objects. As a result, it was suggested that object knowledge and related concept development were therefore likely to be delayed among those blind children who did not use their hands for active exploration and manipulation, and the importance of well-organised and dexterous hand movements were highlighted. The study was used to emphasise the possible constraints that a severe visual impairment may place on manual function in the absence of active interaction with the environment and concluded that failure to develop independent hand function seriously impaired the child's control over the environment and could result in distorted or only ‘vague’ impressions of objects.

In considering the implications of these findings for developing a programme of intervention for children who have visual impairment and additional needs, McLinden & McCall (2010) report that a significant feature of children who have visual impairment and IDs is ‘their increased dependency on other individuals to structure their learning experiences, including their interactions with people, objects and different types of sensory experiences, i.e. what and who they interact with, the nature of their interactions, where the interaction takes place, as well as the duration of any given interaction’ (p. 18). The role of the child's adult partner therefore assumes greater significance in seeking to mediate the child's learning experiences in the absence of sensory information, particularly given the reduced information available to the child through vision as a mediator of haptic information. Given the particular nature of haptic processing, it is argued that any given intervention will need to ensure that the children are provided with opportunities to engage through ‘active’ participation rather than as ‘merely passive recipients of sensory information provided by others’ (McLinden & McCall 2002, p. xiv). This is captured succinctly by Daniels (1996) in making reference to the role of the adult partner in supporting children who have special educational needs to become ‘active constructors of their own understanding’ (p. vii).

McLinden & McCall (2002) note that in order to ‘unlock the potential’ of children who have visual impairment and IDs, it is necessary to have a framework within which to ‘observe behaviours and to interpret them appropriately’ (p. 96). In the absence of a suitable instrument to observe such behaviours, they make reference to a broad developmental framework designed to recognise attainment in children functioning at early stages of development (i.e. children ‘working’ below Level 1 of the National Curriculum in England). The framework draws on a range of assessment tools developed for children with multiple disabilities (e.g. McInnes & Treffry 1982; Aitken & Buultjens 1992) and is intended to offer a ‘hierarchy of learning’ within which to analyse the child's responses to particular experiences at progressive levels of attainment (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 2001, 2009). A summary of the framework is presented in Table 2.

Table 2.  Recognising attainment in children functioning at early stages of development (adapted from Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 2001, 2009)
Level of attainmentExamples of child's responses within each level
EncounterThe child is present during the experience. Any responses are considered to be ‘reflexive’. S/he encounters activities and experiences and may be passive and/or resistant to these.
AwarenessThe child appears to show awareness that something has happened, and may fleetingly focus on or attend to an object, event or person. S/he may be able to spend brief periods independently touching an object (e.g. through the mouth, foot, hand or another part of the body).
Attention and responseThe child attends and begins to respond. S/he begins to distinguish between different people, objects, events and places.
EngagementThe child demonstrates more consistent attention to, and is able to tell the difference between, specific events in his or her surroundings.
ParticipationThe child engages in sharing, taking turns and the anticipation of familiar sequences of events, although these responses may be supported by staff or other pupils.
InvolvementThe child actively strives to reach out, join in or comment in some way on the activity itself or on the actions or responses of the others.
Gaining skills and understandingThe child gains, strengthens or makes general use of skills, knowledge, concepts or understanding that relate to experience of the curriculum.

As reported by McLinden & McCall (2002), this framework provides a means of recording progression from relative dependence on others to a greater degree of individual autonomy and independence within a given learning experience. In its current form, however, the framework does not provide specific guidance that can be used to identify the role of the adult partner in mediating haptic experiences to ensure they are appropriate to the child's attainment level through promoting progressive and structured activities. The development and evaluation of a suitable framework is outlined therefore as an important area for future research in order to promote effective learning through the haptic modality. Such a framework will need to provide clear indicators to ensure the child's adult partners are able to ‘connect or mediate a given experience at a level which is appropriate to these needs’ (Mclinden & McCall 2002, p. 133). As a way of illustrating this, the framework outlined in Table 2 has been further developed to incorporate possible indicators in relation to the first three levels of attainment, namely Encounter, Awareness, and Attention and Response (Table 3).

Table 3.  The role of the adult partner in mediating the haptic learning experiences of children with intellectual disabilities and visual impairment (adapted from McLinden & McCall 2002; Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 2009) Thumbnail image of

Within the early levels of the framework, the adult has a significant role in ensuring the child is physically able to participate in a given haptic experience. This will have particular significance for very young children, or children with significant physical disabilities that restrict their independent movement and thereby their access to the world. Thus, at the level of encounter, such participation will be fully prompted with the adult employing a range of prompts including physical, auditory, verbal tactile and for some children visual, to enable the child to participate in a given activity. Experiences within this level will draw upon relatively passive touch (i.e. tactile experiences which are performed on children by others such as a particular massage regime), with the adult seeking to develop the child's more active engagement in future haptic experiences.

Within the next level of awareness, the child demonstrates emerging awareness of activities and experiences. While participation does not need to be ‘fully prompted’ at this level, the child will still be dependent on the adult to structure his or her learning experiences. This may involve the adult providing ‘hand-over-hand’ support to ensure the child is directed to a particular haptic feature – however, of significance is that unlike the previous stage, the child may be able to spend brief periods independently touching the object (whether this is through the mouth, foot, hand or another part of the body). The theme of developing increasing independent responses to events underpins the successive stages of the framework, and crucially, in terms of mediating learning experiences, ‘the input from the adult will also need to shift to reflect this greater level of independence’ (Mclinden & McCall 2002, p. 133).

Conclusion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Development of early haptic exploratory abilities
  5. Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development
  6. Implications for developing intervention approaches
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

The literature reviewed in this article provides evidence for a haptic developmental progression in the sighted child that emerges in early infancy and continues to mature through childhood, culminating in the use of sophisticated EPs. With increased maturity of hand function, including a more developed haptic system, the hands adopt a greater independent exploratory function, increasingly in combination with the visual modality, which develop into sophisticated haptic EPs. A key finding to emerge from the child development literature is the significance of vision in serving to coordinate or mediate the haptic learning experiences of children to ensure it is meaningful and drives further development. In considering the implications for children with visual impairment and IDs, there is support for the increased significance of the child's adult partner in ensuring that progression promotes active engagement with the environment, and is suited to the individual needs of child. Although no framework has been identified that explicitly considers the adult's role in structuring these haptic learning experiences, there is an emerging literature base providing useful indicators as to how the children's experiences can be appropriately mediated to promote greater independent activity in the child's exploration and understanding of the world in ways that are respectful of the haptic modality. The further development and evaluation of the indicators within such a framework is viewed as being an important priority for future research in order that the needs of children with visual impairment and IDs can be most appropriately met.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Development of early haptic exploratory abilities
  5. Implications of visual impairment for early haptic development
  6. Implications for developing intervention approaches
  7. Conclusion
  8. References
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