The World without Sight. A Comparative Study of Concept Understanding in Polish Congenitally Totally Blind and Sighted Children
The paper presents the outcome of an experiment on concept understanding in Polish congenitally totally blind and sighted children. A test of free associations was administered to a group of 40 sighted and 24 congenitally totally blind children between the ages of 7 and 9. The research instrument included 25 sample concepts grouped into four categories such as colors, nature phenomena, features of living organisms and physical processes. The collected responses lend support to the fact that there exist many impediments to proper concept understanding due to limited hands-on experience arising out of blindness, visible in the research by the presence of gaps in knowledge or egocentrism-based responses. The data exhibits a blind child's high dependence on contextual clues and a delay in the process of decontextualization, especially if it is not accompanied by sufficient stimulation from the child's environment.