Pre verbal signs of mobility visual impairment

Children five and younger with mobility visual impairment and blindness (MVI/B) who have limited verbal language communicate through non-verbal signals. Such as:

  1. An unwillingness to move even though physically able to bear weight.

  2. A preference to hold on to an object or person to move across open space.

  3. A negative reaction to walking such as:

    • delayed or poor gait, slow pace, and/or unbalanced posture.

    • self-created taut extremities (hands like fists),

    • self-injurious hand rubbing, poking face (eyes, ears),

    • lack of walking, asks to be picked up and carried (hypotonia)

    • preference to push objects (chairs, toys) to cross space

play arrow.JPG
play arrow.JPG

Unsteady, poor gait

This one-year-old toddler has mobility visual impairment and blindness (MVI/B). He is unsteady on his feet and has poor gait pattern.


Avoids crossing open space

Child with MVI/B shows signs of stress when asked to cross open space without touching anything. His hands held high, near face, his other hand holds on to couch.

Staying in one place

Staying in one place is a sign of mobility visual impairment and blindness (MVI/B). When children are physically able to walk, five and younger are highly active movers.

Wide-based gait, high guard

Child with MVI/B shows signs of stress when asked to cross open space without touching anything. Her hands held high, her head held back and feet wide-base support.


Cortical visual impairment highly erratic gait

Léa is three years old and has mobility visual impairment due to her cortical visual impairment. Her manner of walking persists in spite of her IFOs and other restrictive garments provided by the physical therapist. The only true fix is path information.

February 16, 2019 physical therapy session before cane

Wade demonstrates all of the outward stress signs listed above. The purpose of the activity may be to get him to detect obstacles at head height, However, the therapists seem unaware of how upsetting it is for Wade, who is blind, to be asked walk across open space without path information towards an object at head level.


The lights are on for everybody in the room, however lights don't help Wade because he is blind. That's why it is confusing as to why the PT calls him "a cheater" simply because he would prefer to hold her hand to provide confidence in the path.


February 16, 2019

Wade shows the stress signals of remaining stationary even when prompted and staying connected to the wall (once located). I urge therapists, verbal warning before touching.

February 18, 2019

Very short video of difficulty with ascending stairs without path information. The child would benefit from using human guide, or a push shape as part of this activity.

Unwillingness to cross open space when prompted

February 18, 2019

Wade exhibits signs of stress walking in open space. The purpose may be to teach hands up to protect his face. However, his stress is from not knowing what is on the floor.

February 18, 2019

Wade exhibits multiple stress signals during this session of walking across open space. It is clear from his entire posture, reaction, and hesitancy that this activity is not pleasurable.