Deaf-Blind Client Bilateral/Sensory Manipulation Activities to Develop Fine-Motor Skills

This client is blind, deaf and developmentally disabled. He appears to enjoy insertion tasks, but will stop if they are too challenging.  He tends to manipulate using his fingertips and tolerates touch to palms only if he cannot avoid it.  I think that he enjoys inserting the magnetic pieces because he can feel the magnetic forces when pulling them apart and they don’t go flying all over the place.

Separating Magnets Before Insertion

This activity works on motor control, finger dexterity and stabilizing materials with one hand. He typically avoids using his hands together but here he is engaged in a bilateral task, working independently for several minutes-a huge success for him!

As you can see in the video below, my client prefers to spend time on a mat, in his personal space. I set up the materials on the bottom of his table so that he can sit facing it, reaching for pieces to remove from a suspended line and then insert into a container.

Removing Homemade "Clips" from Line to Insert 

Materials Adapted to Vibrate

My client is much more motivated to engage in activities that provide vibration sensory input. I show this client in the below video placing rings on stacks. The materials are placed on top of a vibrating cushion. 

Pushing golf balls into Snug container hole

His favorite activity is not bilateral but it makes him so happy that his mother copied my idea so that he can have busy hands at home. A talented staff member reinforced the hole that the ball is pushed through because it eventually stretches out. Many clients at the day services program LOVE the proprioceptive stimulation from  forcefully whacking the ball. Three blind clients, including the individual shown below who is blind and deaf enjoy the repetition and the sensory stimulation.

Sometimes the container is placed on top of a vibrating pillow or I insert some type of vibrating object inside to shake things up a bit.....

If you don't have a heavy duty bucket available, try attaching balls with Velcro to the outside of a detergent or other type of bottle. Removing and inserting balls or other shapes into the container is often calming and the blind individual does not have to feel around on a table or tray to find them because they are attached.

Leave a Reply