Visual Disabilities

Child plays in accessible water parkThere are a variety of ways to make your playspace accessible and inviting for children and adults with visual impairments. By doing so, you will probably find your playspace is easier for everyone

Visual impairments are generally divided into two categories: blindness and low vision. Only 10-15% of people with visual impairments are clinically blind. The remainder of people experience very low vision.*


Post frequent, easy-to-locate signs in:

  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Contrasting colors

Keep your playspace bright and well-lit, so children and adults with low vision can see more easily.

Add auditory elements into your playspace:

  • Musical areas
  • Sound tubes
  • Recordings

Provide tactile stimulation:

  • Blocks and manipulatives
  • Sand and water areas
  • Large objects

All children, with and without visual impairments, can play together with these elements.

*Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2006). An Educator's Guide to Visual Disabilities. http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/wp/access/visual.html

Helpful links:

Read about a special playground at the Tennessee School for the Blind: http://www.tsb.k12tn.net/TSB/Friends%20Foundation/Playground/davidsonam.pdf

American Foundation for the Blind, http://www.afb.org/

Brown, Carla. General Considerations in Working with Young Children with Visual Impairments. Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired. http://www.tsbvi.edu/Education/ec-working-young-children.htm

Greenstein, Doreen. (1998). Caring for children with special needs: Visual impairments. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/fcs/pdfs/nc18.pdf

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. (2004). Visual Impairments. Disability Fact Sheet, No. 13. http://www.nichcy.org/pubs/factshe/fs13.pdf

National Lekotek Center (2000). Play and the child with visual impairment. http://www.lekotek.org/pdfs/packets/Vision%20Packet.pdf

(Photo courtesy of the Free Play Network)