A darkroom, as its name is, allows for an environment devoid of external stimuli, such as light, color, movement, noise and regulation according to the needs of each child.
Working in this room is one of the means designed to help the child preserve the remains of his vision and make the most of them. If we do not take care to preserve the remains of vision, there is the possibility that they will be lost.
The main purpose of working in a darkroom is to improve the child's visual function.
Within this purpose it is possible to refer to different levels of functioning:
- Raising awareness of the sense of sight.
- Working on basic vision skills.
- Imparting new content.
- Preserving and strengthening existing vision skills.
In our first encounter with a child in a darkroom, we will check for useful visual residuals, with each reaction to visual stimulation being the basis for building a work plan in a darkroom.
- Raising awareness of vision – strengthening and improving.
For the visually impaired child, usually, the remains of vision are so few, that he does not learn to use them for a specific purpose, or for a very limited purpose. The children see the stimuli, but do not understand what they see and we want to teach them to decipher the same stimuli.
Functionally we will check (more than once):
- Response to a light source
- Response to the movement of stimulus
- Object Response
- Response to the front
- Working on basic vision skills.
The functioning of vision is an acquired skill that consumes practice, but immediately affects daily functioning. The therapist can "enlighten" the child's attention and thus improve the functioning of his vision.
Focusing a look on visual stimulation:
The ability to direct both eyes together (or one eye to the extent that there is strabismus) for a visual purpose Actions such as outre reaching out and knot (twin) eye-hand require the ability to focus, even if for a fraction of a second.
Tracking visual stimulation:
The ability to stay focused and track an object moving through space
Scan-scans ("jumps") :
The ability to move the gaze from place to place, in order to perform another scan: the environment, objects, figures and pictures. The movement (scan) can be spontaneous or deliberately detectable. This ability allows the child to learn to take advantage of the eyes for learning purposes.
Reaching out for visual stimulation:
The ability to focus a view towards an object that is within reach of reaching out and act / respond to its existence with an eye-to-hand coordination.
Visual stimulation decoding:
The ability to understand the role / meaning of the object in front of me
- Preserving and strengthening existing vision skills
As the child develops, his visual function seems to improve, but the vision remains as it was. In other words, it seems as if the child sees more but not so he is, his vision remains and only the functioning of the vision improves.
- Buying new content
Sometimes a visually impaired child will find it difficult to absorb new content for a reason packed with stimuli and it will be easier for him to see and learn new content when in an environment that is free of stimuli- a darkroom.
The darkroom is a room that provides all the optimal conditions for the visually impaired child and allows for better functioning. The environment is adapted in terms of lighting, prevents dazzing, allows focusing on light source and strengthening and improving all the different skills. The darkness neutralizes the visual load and allows focus on the illuminated stimulus. There are not many diversions from the environment and noise so the attention span and concentration is greater.
The child's visual function relies on the use of visual identification clues of the object, such as:
- Color and Contrast
- Size of object, picture, or type
- The perspective of the children with visual impairment – the angle of view is very significant in the ability to use the existing vision and therefore the head tilt or distance from which the child sees should not be "corrected".
- A visually impaired child sees details before he sees the whole.