Blind children's understanding of vision

Nock, Jennifer Anne (2007). Blind children's understanding of vision. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis explores the effects of congenital blindness upon the development of understanding of vision, and draws on the theoretical frameworks of understanding of aspectuality and visual perspective-taking. Six studies investigated how blind children demonstrated their understanding of vision. Where appropriate, their performance was compared to a control group of sighted children. The views of parents and educators of congenitally blind children were sought in order to gain insight into social influences upon the development of blind children’s understanding of vision.

Sixteen congenitally blind children aged from 3;6 to 14;8, 168 typically developing sighted children aged from 3;6 to 14;8 and 58 sighted adults took part in the studies. There were three main findings. First, the associative stage in understanding of the aspectuality of knowledge for blind children may be manifest in the relationship between touching and knowing. Second, when utilising a more naturalistic setting than has commonly been used, blind children aged between three and 11 years were able to hide successfully, raising questions about the position that Level 1 perspective-taking is not present in blind children until the age of at least six or seven years, and possibly not until ten years. Third, blind participants demonstrated an understanding of mind earlier than has been found in other studies, suggesting that the development of theory of mind in congenitally blind children may not be as delayed as was previously thought. Several educational issues were raised, including the manner in which blind children are taught about vision, and their placement in ability-groups in mainstream classrooms.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions