Dr. Nielsen designed the “Little Room” to give blind infants, children with slow development, children with severe disabilities and children with combinations of disabilities an opportunity to gain the ability to reach, to begin to understand space, and to develop early object concepts.

Typically developing children reach for objects when they are 3-4 months old, while children with blindness often are 10-12 months old before they achieve this ability. Some children who are blind develop a stereotyped motor behavior focused on their own body, instead of developing reaching behavior. This is why it is important to develop an environment which motivates the child to reach for objects as early in life as possible.

The size of the Little Room depends on the size of the child.  It is important for the child to be able to touch the side panels and the ceiling as well as the objects hanging in the Little Room.  LilliWorks current sells three different sized Little Rooms which allow different configurations depending on the size of the child and whether or not the child can sit up inside without support.  For children who cannot sit up the Little Room is typically 1' high.  If the child can sit up, it is configured at 2' generally, though for older individuals it can also be configured at 3' high.

When the child begins to reach for the ceiling and the walls you can make the Little Room bigger.  That way he or she is motivated to move around in the Little Room and/or go in and out of it. This helps the child have the experiences and understanding of space that typically developing children achieve by looking around and by building dens and playhouses. Children who are blind, especially those who are also severely disabled, are not able to build playhouses by themselves or to find small spaces under furniture and in cupboards to play. Creating and playing in these small spaces is an important feature of a typically developing child's experience.

The objects that hang from the ceiling and/or upon the walls of the Little Room must be positioned so whatever movements the child can make produces tactile contact with the objects. It is a good idea to observe which qualities the child prefers in the objects that are used – which part of the Little Room the child prefers to search – which sounds and smells the child prefers. It is very important that the “Little Room” is equipped with many objects so the child can compare different tactile and auditory stimuli. It is also important that the child can reach the objects so they must be graspable.

Short Little Room  short little room

The LR-2 configures to 2'x2'x2' or to 2’x2’x1’ high (that is, as a LR-1). Suitable for shorter learners who can sit comfortably inside.

Ordering information is available from LilliWorks.

 

 

 

  

Tall Little Roomtall little room

The full Little Room is typically configured to 2’ high, 2’ wide and 3’ long, providing room for small children to sit and those laying down to have extra room and objects hung at their hands. Learner’s activities echo in the acoustic environment.

Ordering information is available from LilliWorks.

 

 

 

Little Room Lids little room lids

In classrooms or other areas where many different learners use little rooms, it may work best to have individual lids that can be switched between learners. This allows each learner to have the items that are most appealing to individual preference, while also addressing concerns about germs.

While having individual lids may be ideal from an educational and therapeutic perspective, they do take up quite a lot of room.  It may be helpful to optimize storage by building customized shelving to organize the lids and keep them safe and separate.