The Infant-Toddler Program offers the educational services and family support that are vital to every child with visual impairments or deafblindness during the earliest years of development.
Our work takes place on Perkins’ campus, at home and in the community where we assess the special needs of each child and create individualized programs that address his or her challenges, and encourage his or her strengths.
We also support the emotional and educational needs of parents and caregivers, resulting in a partnership that acknowledges the family as a whole. Our program, designed for children from birth to age 3, focuses on five main objectives:
- Empowering the families of infants and toddlers in a coordinated program of in-home teaching and group learning
- Assessing functional vision and developmental skills
- Providing transition services to prepare children to enter preschool at age 3
- Offering consultation and training to professionals, early intervention and day care providers working with children with visual impairments or deafblindness
- Providing parent training and support
Our teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs), teachers of the deafblind, and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists make regular visits right in the homes of infants and toddlers with visual impairments or deafblindness. These visits use the combined efforts of the family and our staff to assess the special needs and abilities of each child, to provide customized learning and play programs.
In collaboration with early intervention programs and families, our teachers develop activities that focus on 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, we offer School Days, an on-campus once a week program where both the child and their family can address the relevant issues around visual impairment. Children participate in sensory, language, play and movement activities with teachers trained to work with the visually impaired, while parents meet with social workers and other parents in a supportive environment to discuss raising a child with a visual impairment. Siblings are encouraged to attend and participate in activities as well.
Evening meetings and social events (such as Alumni Days) are also held for parents on a regular basis.