Understanding the Connection Between Intellectual Disabilities and Visual Impairments

Individuals with severe and profound intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/IDD) and profound multiple disabilities (PMD) face a significantly higher risk of visual impairment. Research indicates that approximately 25% of people with intellectual disabilities have some form of visual impairment, a number that dramatically increases to nearly 100% among those with severe or profound disabilities and conditions like Down Syndrome. Understanding the intersection of intellectual disabilities and visual impairments is crucial for developing effective and inclusive warm technology.


What factors contribute to these high rates of visual impairments?

Neurological and Genetic Influences

Many severe intellectual disabilities are associated with comorbid neurological and genetic conditions that also impact vision. Individuals with Down Syndrome, for example, experience high rates of cataracts (clouding of eye lens), strabismus (eye misalignment), and refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, etc.) 

Communication Barriers

Individuals with severe disabilities are often limited in their ability to communicate their visual impairments, which results in underdiagnosis or misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. Research shows that early interventions have the best chance for success, so delays in treatment can significantly exacerbate the impact of visual impairments on individuals’ quality of life. 

Comorbid Conditions

For individuals with multiple profound disabilities (PMD), additional, compounding  health issues can significantly affect vision. Conditions such as cerebral palsy, which can co-occur with severe intellectual disabilities, increase the risk of visual impairments due to brain damage affecting the visual pathways.


Tover’s Commitment to Inclusivity

At Tover, we are dedicated to fostering a compassionate and inclusive world for individuals living with cognitive challenges. Recognizing the unique needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities, we have adapted some of our most popular Tovertafel games to be more accessible for those with visual impairments. Our new collection of High-Contrast Games are the result of several years of research and extensive testing.

The High-Contrast Games enhance visibility and are uniquely designed to allow players with a wide range of visual impairments to participate together fully in Purposeful Play sessions.

Understanding the intersection of intellectual disabilities and visual impairments is crucial for developing effective, inclusive (and fun!) warm technology for our players. At Tover, we are proud to lead the way in creating accessible and joyful experiences for all players with intellectual disabilities. Adding these games is just one step towards our mission of making a positive impact on the lives of those with cognitive challenges and contributing to a more inclusive and caring world.