Sunday, May 20, 2007

What Can Friends and Family Do?

There are a lot of unknowns with Albinism, including for our friends and family. I hope this section will give you some tips on what to do. I plan to add to it whenever I come across new ideas:

As of this writing, Emerson is just starting to pay attention to faces. Many people think he doesn't like them or isn't social because he doesn't make the kind of eye contact that other babies do. He is a very social, lovable guy, but his strengths are listening rather than looking. In fact, we are finding that he listens intently when people talk, read outloud, sing, or when we play music. It's pretty funny actually how he will stop whatever he's doing and just listen with this look of intense concentration.

To help him, please put your face closer to his and introduce yourself. The more he can connect the sound of your voice with a close look at your face, the better he'll get at recognizing you. He'll also interact more as he sees your facial expressions.

Our therapists have also recommended giving verbal cues to help him know what's happening. For example, tell him: "I'm going to pick you up" before doing it. It makes a lot of sense, although we are not completely disciplined in doing it ourselves!

Obviously the most important thing is to treat him as the completely normal, beautiful boy he is!

Toys and Games
In general, large, simple, high-contrast books and toys are more appealing to him. Of course, things with textures, lights, and sounds are perfect. (As paranoid parents, we are also trying to limit toys to non-toxic materials like wood and untreated fabric.)

Baby toys can be overloaded with sensory information (lots of details, patterns, etc.), but for children with visual impairments, less is often more.

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