Role of vision on early motor development: Lessons from the blind

Heinz F R Prechtl, Giovanni Cioni, Christa Einspieler, Arend F. Bos, Fabrizio Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For a better understanding of the contribution vision makes to the development of other sensory systems and to movement and posture, we studied effects of early blindness by examining video recordings of 14 totally blind infants. Infants were born at term or preterm and showed no evidence of brain damage. During preterm and term periods no noticeable changes in motor activity were observed. Around 2 months postterm all infants showed clear delay in head control and abnormal, exaggerated type of 'fidgety movements'. Later, postural control was characterized by a prolonged period of ataxic features. Results indicate a lack of normal calibration exerted by vision on proprioceptive and vestibular systems. Early visuomotor coordination such as coordinated eye-head scanning and head orientating were present but disappeared after several weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-201
Number of pages4
JournalDevelopmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuroscience(all)


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