Nature study Q:A special needs

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  • Morgan1

    I have a very specific question for Karen or any other nature study wise moms or special needs moms out there. My son (8) has a lot of love for outdoors and would love outdoors if I let him freezing or 100 rain or shine. But he is low vision ( legally blind) now and in the future can loose it completely. How do I continue to encourage nature “study” as he grows older if mostly nature study is observation? It’s so much a part of him I know he will always love outside. But I want the deeper connection you get when you learn about and study nature as he grows verses his just frolicking and being a boy in nature. For instance there is a small bird that made a nest in the wave of our porch. We climbed a ladder to see the babies much to mommy birds dislike but he couldn’t get close enough to see them. I took a picture but I can’t blow it up enough for him to see clearly. And he is sad he’s missed out when we can all see. When we find frogs in the yard I encourage his catching and handling so he can get a up close view. Those types of experiences are easy and wonderful to him. But how can I help him otherwise to do nature study with low to no vision and still show him God’s wonderful world? There’s so much he has yet to see at 8.


    I don’t have specific experience with your challenges, but my first thought is to encourage and allow him to experience the world with all of his senses, which is what I imagine he’s doing already if he has low vision and a love for creation.  This is actually how I do nature study myself as an adult. The sounds of birds and breezes, the scents of leaves, flowers, soil, the feel of a stone or a feather, the taste of wild herbs…you get the idea. So much to adore and explore!  I’d love to hear your stories!

    Karen Smith

    I agree with alphabetika. Encourage him to use his other senses. Hearing and smelling are useful senses to use even for people with good vision. Most people rely on sight to observe nature. I encourage the use of as many of the senses as it is safe to use when every time you are in nature. You will observe more birds, frogs and toads, blooming plants, different habitats (swamp, pine woods, deciduous woods, for example), and more if you learn to use more senses than sight.

    By listening and smelling your son can experience the nature around him in a different way than others. It is amazing how many nature experiences you can have with just those two senses. Because his vision is poor, as he learns to use his ears and nose more, he will most likely be able to detect birds, flowers, and other nature objects sooner than the rest of the family. Let him feel and taste anything that is safe to use those senses for. Being able to feel an object, like the frog, can give him a picture in his mind. He won’t be able to feel everything in nature, so help him learn to ask questions that will give him a picture, such as “What color is it?” or “What shape is it?” Your descriptions will also help him to “see” things in nature.

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