chapter  2
Motor and cognitive development
Pages 26

INTRODUCTION In this chapter we will review the findings gathered by researchers interested in motor and cognitive development. On doing this, we will not make an outline of motor and cognitive development in sighted children as a reference for systematic comparison; instead we will report what is known on the development of these domains in blind children. In order to keep the chapter to a manageable length, comparisons with sighted children will be presented only when necessary. As a matter of fact, our aim is to use this chapter to present a general picture of blind children's development to help the reader better understand the main topic of the book: the development of social interaction and language in blind children. This is so because, as we will try to demonstrate, the development of blind children is not homogeneous, and important differences exist between different domains of development. This makes the concept of asynchrony of development of special interest to our understanding of blind children's development, since not every domain follows a similar pattern of development and, furthermore, an imbalance between different domains may exist. This concept was first proposed by Zazz6 ( 1969) in relation to the development of children with mental handicap to indicate that these children develop at different rates in different domains of development as compared to non-impaired children. Probably, the most striking contrast in blind children is that which exists between motor and language development. Whereas language development follows a reasonably normal rate of development, motor development may be seriously delayed in the majority of blind children.