Critical review of setback in development in young children with congenital blindness or visual impairment
SourceInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 67, 3, (2020), pp. 336-355
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
International Journal of Disability, Development and Education
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
A presumed setback in development between 16 and 27 months of age was studied by reviewing the literature on setback in development and longitudinal studies of children with blindness or visual impairment. The results showed that the period around the second year of life is a vulnerable period for these children, in which about 25-33% of the children who are blind show a setback. Setback is far less common in children with less severe visual impairments (±3%). Important risk factors are profound visual impairments, neurological abnormalities and social adversity. Individual differences in maturation and development and methodological issues complicate conclusive statements about the existence and the nature of this setback. Alternative explanations for a developmental setback are described, such as measurement error and an over-diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. The main suggestion for future research is that in order to be able to capture the phenomenon of developmental setback and to pinpoint moderating and mediating factors, children with congenital blindness and visual impairment need to be monitored prospectively in a longitudinal research design.
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