“I’m Coming to Get You: Ready! Steady! Go!” The Development of Communication between a Blind Infant and his Parents

  • Cathy Urwin


While the previous paper was concerned with blind children, this paper is about the implications of blindness in infancy. It highlights some of the constraints on the development of communication between blind infants and their parents, with particular reference to their implications for early language development. Taking a particular child as an example, it describes how the parents found ways of adjusting to these constraints, and the consequences for the development of reciprocal interaction between them. During the conference proceedings, a video tape was shown to illustrate the evolution of particular play routines over the seven to twenty-month period, during which time the child was observed at home at fortnightly intervals. Characteristics of his early language development and symbolic play are summarised and discussed in relation to the history of social interaction. Concluding discussion suggests that changes in the child’s representation of self in relation to others occurring at the end of the sensori-motor period may indicate changes crucially important for further developments in language usage. This directs attention towards the underlying transactional processes developing in the infancy period preceding it.


Early Language Reciprocal Exchange Symbolic Play Distal Environment Blind Child 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1977

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  • Cathy Urwin

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