Suzanne Verver

Play and social interaction in children with visual impairment augmented by smart toys

Play and social interaction are at risk in children with visual impairment and blindness. This may have implications for their social network, as well as their cognitive development. As a consequence, a successful participation in our society might be difficult for visually impaired children. In this research project we want to investigate whether smart toys can support visually impaired children while playing with other (visually impaired) children. The smart toys add sounds and music to playthings, which makes them more lively and inviting to play with. In addition, the children will get more involved in each other’s play. Expectations are that the smart toys will increase both the amount and complexity of play and social interaction in visually impaired children.

At the same time the smart toys could serve as tools providing children a new learning environment in the classroom. For this reason we will also investigate whether the use of smart toys is an effective way to help visually impaired children acquire knowledge independently. In this way we will create a learning possibility with visually impaired children no longer being dependent on the effort of adults.