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Visual Impairment

How a visual impairment (VI) can affect communication

The development of language may be delayed for children with a significant visual impairment as they may not be able to associate words with specific objects and also pictorial representation of everyday items.

Children with severe visual impairment can experience difficulties/delay in the following aspects of the development of their speech and language:

  • Child directed speech (knowing when it is your turn during turn-taking: lack of confidence)
  • Intonation (not be able to see facial, hand expressions associated with intonation)
  • Situational understanding (inappropriate understanding of what is required in different situations e.g. sitting still, not seeing others)
  • Speech sounds
  • Attending and selective listening
  • Single-channelled (attending to one thing at a time) Anticipation (inappropriate prediction of expressive language)
  • Symbolic vocalisation (woof, woof; sound of train)
  • Joint attention and shared discovery (keeping things close by impacts on shared language and reduces interaction)
  • Gestures, facial expressions
  • Rhythm recognition (not seeing, remembering latter language patterns)
  • Symbolism (2D to 3D recognition)
  • Over generalisation
  •  Visual memory.

© Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire PCT 2011.

Further Information

In this section

More Information

See also in our website

External websites

  • Hello Campaign
    Here you will find what the Hello campaign is all about
  • Speech, Language and Communication Framework The SLCF lists all the skills and knowledge that everyone working with children needs to know to support the communication development
  • Language for Learning
    Provides courses and resources for staff from Early Years to Secondary Level and training and materials for trainers to deliver these courses within their own Authorities
  • The National Strategies
    Information from the Department for Education (DfE)

We are not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more

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This page was last reviewed 17 April 2013 at 10:40.
The page is next due for review 14 October 2014.