Inner visions

21st April 1995 at 01:00
ONE OF THE FAMILY, First Sight 1 85878 059 4. GOING MY WAY 1 85878 060 8. MAKING CONTACT 1 85878 061 6. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT! 1 85878 062 4, complete set 1 85878 058 6, Pounds 110, or Pounds 29 each. Royal National Institute for the Blind, 224 Great Portland Street, London W1N 6AA Tel: 0171 388 1266.

Over 20,000 children in the UK have a seeing disability of which at least 10,000 are blind or partially sighted. One of the Family is a series of four videos, each lasting 20 minutes, which provide insights into the development of children with severe or profound learning difficulties who also have a seeing disability.

The videos are highly informative and very professionally produced. Each is accompanied by a booklet which provides basic information about the topics in the video, along with useful references and sources of further information. The series is aimed at people who work with children who have multiple disabilities, but who may have limited specialist knowledge about seeing disabilities or how those may interact with other kinds of disability. It would, however, be equally accessible to parents.

The approach is simple, straightforward and no-nonsense but never patronising or condescending. It is also very sensitive to the feelings of the viewer; many practical points about what and what not to do, are put across in an understated way which allows people to learn new skills without feeling that they are being criticised for what they may not have known or done before.

Underlying all four videos is a subtle but clear message about children's rights. There is a strong emphasis on partnerships between children and parents, plus practical suggestions as to how these can be fostered to everyone's advantage.

Although very practical, the material is underpinned throughout with clear theoretical models of child development and interaction. It provides much more than just practical tips a model which gives real insight and understanding.

"First Sight" deals with early visual development, assessment and early stimulation. It provides information about the visual system, the various seeing disabilities and how they are assessed. Practicalities and limitations of assessment are shown and explained.

"Going My Way" considers the link between sight and mobility and shows ways to encourage mobility, "Making Contact" looks at communication from first contacts to speech and language, and "That's What It's All About" describes different types of play and their importance for development.

These videos should be in any school which has children with seeing and learning disabilities. They are useful for anyone with a limited knowledge of seeing disability, and even for those who are experienced in working with these children.

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