How do you get a blind or visually impaired child to “see” or “visualize” a bird flying? So many things in the world are clear to us because we see them and take them for granted. Try explaining, without using visual aids, what we see on a day-to-day basis, such as the sky, birds, falling leaves, trees, the fruit hanging from a tree, as only a few examples.
Through puppetry and the appropriate props and accessories, we can get the blind or visually impaired child to experience, through his other senses, such as touch, and sometimes hearing, smell, and taste, many of the things we see. For instance, think of an orange tree. What do you visualize? A brown tree trunk, two to three meters (a few yards) high, with branches covered in dark green shiny leaves and round, bumpy orange-colored fruit hanging from the branches. All this, just by looking!
In our “puppet theater class” we get our children to “see” this picture in a different way, starting with touch. Since the child cannot feel the actual entire tree at one touch, we start by introducing him to the tree that is a prop in the puppet theater, explaining as he touches and feels it that, of course, the real tree outdoors is much larger in size. We can then introduce the child to the actual bark, leaves, and fruit of the tree, which they are encouraged to touch, smell and eat. In this way the child experiences the orange tree, using all his senses other than sight. The whole puppet show experience is fun and an excellent way for the child to learn about his surroundings.
Now try explaining to a blind or visually impaired person a bird flying!
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