Letters to Parents: Occupational Therapy for Children Who Are Blind or Low Vision  

An image of various supplies an OT would use with your child on a desk, including handwriting materials, bags, and glue.

Let’s explore the world of occupational therapy and its role in supporting children who are blind or have low vision. This post will delve into the valuable insights and experiences of working in this field. We aim to provide helpful tips, resources, and encouragement to families raising children who are blind or low vision, while fostering a positive and empowering atmosphere. So, let’s embark on this journey together!  


My Role as an Occupational Therapist 

As an occupational therapist who works with children who are blind or have low vision, my primary role is to enhance their overall development and independence. Occupational therapy, or “OT”, fosters skills in various areas of a child’s physical and mental capabilities. This includes but is not limited to fine motor abilities, sensory integration, and movement coordination.  

By tailoring interventions to meet their unique needs, I strive to empower children to confidently navigate the world and achieve their full potential. As a school-based occupational therapist, I ensure a child can navigate and function in a classroom setting. To fulfill this objective, I provide and teach the appropriate adaptations and skills to help them complete their school work. Through activities that facilitate fine motor coordination and strength, I make sure that students I work with can write or braille their numbers and letters legibly and correctly.  


What to Expect When Working with an Occupational Therapist 

If your family is considering working with an occupational therapist or a professional in this field, it’s essential to understand what to expect. Firstly, you can anticipate a collaborative and family-centered approach where your input and involvement are highly valued. Occupational therapists will work closely with you to set goals and create personalized intervention plans that address your child’s needs. Remember, when creating goals with the Occupational therapist, these goals must be attainable and realistic.    


Furthermore, occupational therapy sessions typically involve engaging activities and exercises to promote skill development. These could include fine motor tasks like manipulating objects, sensory play to stimulate exploration and response, and movement-based activities to enhance coordination and body awareness. The aim is to make therapy sessions enjoyable and meaningful for your child while facilitating their progress.  


Resources for Supporting Skill Development at Home 

As a parent or caregiver, you play a vital role in supporting your child’s development outside therapy sessions. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you continue fostering their skills in various domains:  

Fine Motor Skills: Encourage activities that promote hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity, such as playing with blocks, stringing beads, or manipulating clay and playdough. These activities help refine fine motor control and enhance tactile exploration. Fine motor strength is just as important. Make sure to introduce activities that build hand strength. This could include playing with theraputty, pinching clothespins or tongs, and or completing cutting activities.    


Sensory Integration: Create sensory-rich environments by incorporating different textures, scents, and sounds into playtime. Activities like finger painting, water play, and exploring various textured materials can support sensory integration and encourage exploration.  Remember, a child who is blind or low vision relies on their tactile sense to explore their environment. These methods are even utilized when practicing writing letters, numbers, and creating shapes. This is called a multi-sensory approach.  


Multi-sensory Activity Ideas:  The multi-sensory approach helps children bridge the physical aspects of therapy to their educational needs. This is done by engaging the body’s senses while incorporating educational principles. Multi-sensory activities could include using Play-Doh to create letters, using hands and fingers to make shapes in sand, or using fingers to trace textured numbers.  


Movement and Coordination: Engage your child in physical activities that enhance their balance, coordination, and body awareness. This can include dancing, yoga, trampoline play, or adapted sports. Such activities promote strength, coordination, and spatial orientation integral to your child’s developmental growth.  My role as an occupational therapist is to specialize specifically in upper body strength and coordination. A physical therapist would provide therapy that focuses on the strength and ability of lower extremities.   


Why an Occupational Therapist Might Be Added to Your Child’s Team 

While your child may already receive support from other professionals, adding an occupational therapist to their team can bring additional benefits. Occupational therapists bring expertise in assessing and addressing the specific challenges faced by children who are blind or have low vision. They can provide specialized interventions, facilitate skill development, and offer strategies to integrate sensory information effectively.  


Words of Encouragement to Families 

To all the incredible families raising children who are blind or have low vision, we want to assure you that you are not alone on this journey. Each step you take to support your child’s growth and development matters and is deeply appreciated. We know overcoming roadblocks in your child’s development can be tough, but we are here to help! Remember to celebrate the small victories and milestones along the way. Meeting goals, big or small, are significant indicators of progress. Embrace the possibilities and the limitless potential within your child.  



Thank you for joining us on this exploration of occupational therapy’s role in supporting children who are blind or have low vision. We hope this blog post has provided valuable insights, practical tips, and resources to support your child’s development. If you think your child would benefit from OT services, try reaching out through the proper channels, whether school-based OT or outside services. Remember, you are an integral part of the team as well!