What your child can see and do

There are lots of ways to find out what your child can see and do in everyday situations. There are also plenty of ways to help and support them. One of the most helpful things you can do is to observe your child to find out how they react and respond. Remember that younger children or those with more complex needs may be unable to tell you what they can see.


Observing your child

Observe how your child plays and interacts – for example, watch to see if they hold books or toys close to their face or at a certain angle, observe how close they get to the TV and so on.

You can support them by letting them sit as close as they need or propping toys or a book on a cushion in front of them.


Interacting with others

By observing your child’s interactions with others, you can find out more about their vision. For example:

  • You can observe how close your child has to be in order to recognise you and other family members
  • Encourage others to tell your child who they are and when they are leaving the room
  • If your child relies on side vision (if they have central field loss), you can help by presenting toys and books from the side they see best and encourage others to approach them from the side


Moving around

Peripheral field loss may mean your child misses objects that are at the edge of their vision, so they may bump into door frames or furniture in their lower field of vision.

  • If their peripheral vision is poor they may not see people approaching them from the side. You can encourage others to approach them centrally and present toys and books directly in front of them.
  • Help them to navigate by practising safe routes around the house and try to avoid moving furniture without telling them.



What your child can see: Light sensitivity, colours and fluctuating vision.

Observing your child playing will tell you a lot about what they can see and do:

  • Can they see well enough to find their toys? What size toys can they find? Choosing toys of a similar size to each other can help them to be more independent.
  • Organising toys into a storage basket or presenting a single toy on a plain background can also help.
  • They may miss actions and expression when their friends are playing. You can describe what games they are playing and their expressions and actions to help your child join in.


RSBC Tip: 

Every child is different, so two children with the same diagnosis may use their vision differently. Your qualified teacher of the vision impaired (QTVI) can advise on this.

Published: July 2018

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