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Burlingham, D. (1967). Developmental Considerations in the Occupations of the Blind. Psychoanal. St. Child, 22:187-198.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 22:187-198

Developmental Considerations in the Occupations of the Blind

Dorothy Burlingham

One of the problems that occurs in the care of young blind children is how to find suitable occupations and appropriate toy for them. Both mothers and nursery school teachers of such children are continually at a loss as to how to interest them. The children seem to lack any desire for the objects surrounding them and consequently show no sign of a wish to play.

This differs significantly from our experience with sighted children and their inevitable curiosity, where it is as difficult to keep objects from them as it is to interest the blind in the same items. Toys for the sighted child are everywhere and in such numbers that the problem that arises is one of eliminating toys which are unsuitable or even harmful.

Much has been written about the toys and occupations of sighted infants, and a sequence has been established of the interrelation between the various stages of sensory and instinctual development and its expression in play. To quote only a few examples: putting objects into each other, next to each other, on top of each other; each of these belongs to a certain stage of development, with libidinal interest derived from notions and experimentations about the inside of the body, its dimensions, etc. To build up and then knock down a tower gives expression to both constructive and destructive urges. Pleasure in mastery is expressed by the successful handling of small copies of life-size objects.


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