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TOYS AND THE ACT OF PLAYING AS STRATEGIES OF INTEGRATION OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED CHILDREN

 

Mara O. de Campos Siaulys

Rua Conselheiro Brotero, 338 - Barra Funda
01154-000 - São Paulo - SP - Brasil
Telefone: (011)826-3744 Fax: (011) 826-9108 

Being the head of LARAMARA - Associação Brasileira de Assistência ao Deficiente Visual (Brazilian Association of Assistance for the Visually Impaired) for the last five years, we are absolutely sure of the importance of the participation and interaction between the family, professionals and the institution in the educational process of the visually impaired child.

We understand that the role of the family in the children's education is untransferable, therefore LARAMARA tries to support it, seeking with this partnership, child-family-institution, solutions for the problems that may arise along the way.

At the family's arrival, parents are welcome and heard. The services available in our institution are presented as well as other community services when needed.

LARAMARA informs the prognostic of each case, giving the family some orientation about optical aids and appropriate school for the child.

However, one of our main priorities is to stimulate the family to assume its own role, knowing its potential to be performed in the child's development. It is of great importance to reinforce this bond in order to restore parents confidence and the visually impaired child's self steem enlarging social integration possibilities.

The importance of Playing

The continuous search for educational aids, the development and adaptation of materials, methods and technical innovations must be of concern to all: parents and professionals.

Visually impaired children must play as any children. To have diversified activities, games, to experience richness of feelings and fellowship but not isolation is essential.

In order to obtain families comprehension and approval for this need, to encourage the use of toys for the interaction between them and their children we created an area for families integration and social interaction, which we named "Espaço": the toy and the act of playing as positive tools to reach our main objective - visually impaired children's education and integration with the family and community.

In an enjoyable environment families and professionals get to participate and to know all the resources available in the institution. It is a pleasant area where the toy is a helping tool for the families to participate in the process of their children's knowledge development and education.

In a meeting with a professional the family is encouraged to identify, create and elaborate suitable toys for the child at this stage in her/his life, to understand as possibilities to explore it, take it home and play with the child.

The interaction between families and professional allows the exchange of experiences, mutual support and the knowledge of the services offered by the institution, creating excellent opportunities for work orientation and development.

We encourage professionals from all over the country to come and get to know this area and the toys, sharing with us ideas about the making process and the use of them.

The strong belief in the visually impaired child's potential and the guarantee of its right to play, form the base of this work.

Creating and developing educational aids for the visually impaired child, acting as a centre for integration and interaction between families and professionals, the "Espaço" shows to be a way of using toys and the art of playing in the education and socialization of the visually impaired child.

LARAMARA is continuously preoccupied in creating toys and sharing this creation and production with families, in order to help them to discover their own capacity for acting positively in the child's development process, to provide to this child the right for the simple pleasure of playing.

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