Exposing Your Child Who Is Blind or Low Vision to Hobbies
The pursuit of hobbies truly paves the way for work. Hobbies provide children opportunities to discover how they learn, to witness improvement and success after much practice, to gain confidence.
Hobbies provide opportunities to learn employable skills, whether the “soft skills” of creativity, teamwork, abstract thinking, problem-solving, multi-tasking, communication, perseverance, initiative, responsibility, goal-setting, flexibility, and effort or the “hard skills” (concrete skills) such as reading, writing, mathematics, typing, proficiency in foreign language, fine motor skills, designing, gardening, singing, auto mechanics, pet grooming, or construction.
Your child can learn these extremely valuable skills meaningfully, rather than for rote memorization or social pressure. The key is providing your child repeated exposure to various hobbies and encouraging the pursuit of those that spark an interest.
Talk with your child about the skills they are learning as your child is practicing, playing, and enjoying the activities. Help your child develop the skills directly related to the hobbies and more (literacy, technology, and social skills) by providing the free time to practice by themself and with others, opportunities to showcase their hobbies to an audience, checking out books on the subjects and reading, and browsing the Internet for hobby-related information alongside your child.
Hobbies for My Child
- Use your child’s current interests to help guide your exploration of hobbies. Ask yourself: “What are my child’s abilities and curiosities?
- Talking or Singing
- Listening to Stories
- Tinker with objects, or take them apart
- Love being physically active
- Enjoys time in water
- Helping in the kitchen
- What hobbies would provide opportunities to practice underdeveloped skills or muscles? If your child is naturally shy, you may consider a group pastime. If your child displays poor gross motor skills, you may consider a strength-building pastime.
- What social clubs or activities are available in your area?
- How much time does your child have to pursue a hobby/practice the skills necessary for the hobby?
After deciding several hobbies to introduce to your child, consider how the hobbies can be tailored to your child’s unique abilities and skill levels. After all, fun and learning are the goals, not frustration. For example, if learning to play the piano is a hobby you foresee your child enjoying, perhaps you can work with a piano teacher to create appropriate goals for his age and skill level.