Sports have made an incredible impact on Jon Schorsch’s life, becoming even more meaningful to him after a boating accident took his sight. Not one to give up or succumb to the limitations of blindness, Jon Schorsch has continued to participate in the sports he loves, including waterskiing, golfing, running, skiing, and sailing. For children who are blind, sports can play an important role in developing confidence and self-assurance. The following tips represent some helpful ways to assist a blind child in learning a new sport or activity.
1. When helping a blind child who is first learning a sport, make sure to let them know that it is all about fun. The more enjoyment a child can gain from the activity, the more likely he or she will want to continue participating.
2. Assess what sports might be a good fit for the youth. Individual sports can be easier for blind children to learn and excel at, while team sports provide camaraderie and a sense of teamwork.
3. Let the youth know that it’s okay to make mistakes.
4. Be creative, especially at first. In team sports, you may need to be a “play by play” coach, letting him or her know what is going on in the game and offering instruction.
5. Don’t forget the details. When you are assisting a child who has impaired or no vision, all the small things matter, so try to communicate the details you may not normally think to vocalize.
6. Let the child give you feedback on what is or isn’t working for him or her.