The Effects of Impaired Visual Exteroception on Body Schema in the Drawing and 3-D Plasticine Modeling of Human Figures: A Case Study of Three Preschool Children with Total Congenital Blindness Due to Retinopathy of Prematurity

Meng Ee Wong & Noel Kok Hwee Chia

Abstract

This investigative study examined how impaired visual exteroception in children with total congenital blindness due to retinopathy of prematurity affected their ability to create human figures through drawing and 3-D plasticine modeling. The performance of three children aged 6 years old with congenital blindness and that of three blindfolded sighted children, also aged 6 years old, were compared basing on two tasks: (1) human figure drawings; and (2) 3-D plasticine modeling of human figures. Pre-treatment results suggested children with congenital blindness before they underwent a ten-1½-hour-session Inter-Sensory Coordination Intervention Program (ISCIP) were extremely poor in their concept of body schema. Post-treatment results showed a significant improvement in their human figure drawings as well as their 3-D plasticine modeling of human figure with results comparable to those of blindfolded sighted children. Findings of this study suggested that the mental representations of the body schema in the three subjects with total congenital blindness were never badly or totally impaired in the first place; instead, these mental representations remained intact, preserving the spatial and metric properties of the human figure. In this sense, this study has also agreed with the findings of previous studies confirming that visual imagery in subjects with total blindness is possible without visual perception or experience.


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