We studied the development of spontaneous tactile drawing in three 12-year-old children with congenital total blindness and with no previous drawing tuition. In a period of 9 months, from an initial phase in which they were taught to draw tangible straight and curve raised lines, the three blind children went on making spontaneous raised outlines representing edges, surfaces of objects, vantage point, and motion. The corpus of drawings produced by these children shows that several aspects of outline pictures can be implemented through touch. The perceptual principles represented in these drawings are comparable to those commonly found in sighted children. On the one hand, this convergence indicates similarities in the way vision and touch mediate the acquisition and the conceptualisation of spatial information from objects and the environment. On the other hand, it reflects the influence of cross-modal plasticity typically associated with early or congenital blindness. This study suggests that drawing development in general does not depend on learning pictorial conventions. Rather it seems driven by natural generativity based on children's knowledge of space and perceptual principles.

International Journal of Behavioral Development
Department of Neuroscience

D'Angiulli, A, & Maggi, S. (2003). Development of drawing abilities in a distinct population: Depiction of perceptual principles by three children with congenital total blindness. International Journal of Behavioral Development (Vol. 27, pp. 193–200). doi:10.1080/01650250244000191