Development of spatial awareness skills of congenitally blind people from the view of a mathematics teacher
Laar, T. van
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Although there are many blind people in the world, some of them are born blind, research on the development of spatial awareness in them is very limited. Most research that is available focuses on a specific aspect of spatial awareness development, but an overview of this development doesn’t exist. The aim of this study is to give an overview of the development of spatial awareness in people who are born blind. This will answer the main research question of this study: How does spatial awareness develop in congenitally blind people? Because spatial skills used in the real world may differ from the ones used in mathematics two sub questions emerged: How do spatial awareness skills that are used for spatial functioning in the real world develop? And: How do spatial awareness skills that are used in mathematical geometry develop? To answer these questions, a case study with a single case was done, using two interviews to gain insight in the development of spatial awareness in the congenitally blind participant. The results showed the development of spatial awareness in the participant in real life contexts well, but the development in mathematical context could not be mapped very well, because the participant lacked the mathematical knowledge to go into great depth. Using both findings in literature and the results from the case study, this study concluded with an overview of the development of spatial awareness in congenitally blind people in real life contexts, and an inconclusive overview of findings regarding the development of spatial awareness in mathematical contexts. The most important recommendations for teaching mathematics to congenitally blind students is to provide quality and to understand how radically different their perception of the world is. This study provided several starting points for future research on spatial awareness development in congenitally blind people.