Infant Toddler (Birth-3)
Empowering parents, helping children take their first steps
When parents learn their baby is visually impaired, they are immediately faced with a myriad of emotions and pressing questions. They may feel confused, alone or unsure about how to aid in their baby's development. Perkins can help.
As with any child, education begins from day one for babies and infants who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired with or without multiple disabilities. Recognizing the crucial need for specialized services in the first years of life, the Infant/Toddler Program at Perkins provides early intervention services for babies from birth to age three, as well as support for their families.
We focus on three major objectives:
- Involve babies, infants and toddlers and their families in an empowering and coordinated program of home teaching and on-campus learning
- Prepare babies to enter the Perkins Early Learning Center or a community preschool at age three
- Provide consultation and training to other professionals and to early intervention and daycare centers working with babies with visual impairments or deafblindness
We help parents in two key environments:
Perkins sends teachers of children with visual impairments, teachers of the deafblind, and orientation and mobility specialists to the homes of infants and toddlers with visual impairments or deafblindness. These visits are the foundation for our services and are made on a regular basis. They use the combined efforts of the family and our staff to assess the special needs and abilities of each child and to provide customized learning and play programs.
In collaboration with early intervention programs and families and our teachers develop activities that focus upon the developmental areas of:
- Gross motor, orientation and mobility skills
- Fine motor skills
- Sensory stimulation
- Cognitive development
- Communication and early literacy skills
- Social and emotional development
- Compensatory skills (e.g. touch, hearing, visual efficiency, etc.)
On-campus Program for Infants and Toddlers:
In addition to home visits, Perkins offers School Days, an on-campus program that occurs once a week and is designed to address issues relevant to both the child and the family. For the child, this weekly visit entails participation in sensory, language, play and movement activities under the guidance of a teacher trained to work with the visually impaired. Siblings are encouraged to attend and participate in activities.
During this time, parents meet with social workers and other parents in a supportive environment to discuss raising a child who is visually impaired. Evening meetings and social events (such as Alumni Days) are also held for parents on a regular basis.
For more information about Perkins Infant/Toddler Program, call 617-972-7332 or 7333 or email EarlyLearningCenter@Perkins.org.