Active Learning


Many blind children with multiple impairments wait for adults to provide stimulation. Therefore, they become passive. “Active Learning” techniques emphasize simple ways to change the environment so that a child becomes an “active learner.”

Dr. Nielsen developed the approach known as “Active Learning,” and designed equipment that is specifically for blind, multi-disabled children. She was trained as a preschool teacher and as a psychologist. Dr. Nielsen worked with disabled children for almost 43 years, the last 33 years with visually impaired children (birth to 21 years of age) with and without other disabilities. Dr. Nielsen has written numerous books; conducted research on congenitally blind children’s spatial relationship, and designed several perceptual aids. She lectured all around the world and was the premier authority on visually impaired children with multiple disabilities.

Penrickton Center for Blind Children has all of the equipment developed by Dr. Nielsen for “Active Learning.” This includes The Little Room, HOPSA Dress, ESSEF Board, Resonance Board, and Support Bench. Additionally, Penrickton Center staff have been authorized by Dr. Nielsen to provide in-service training and seminars. Please contact Patty Obrzut, O.T.R.M.S. Assistant Director at for more information regarding Active Learning trainings.

To learn more, check out the Active Learning Space Website at