Sighted Infants of Blind Parents

Invitation to participate in a research project with the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development with support from the Royal National Institute of Blind People

Who are we?

The Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development (CBCD) in London is one of the world's leading research centres into child development. Research at the CBCD focuses on the connection between brain development and changes in perceptual, cognitive, and linguistic abilities from birth through childhood. In recognition of the social, educational, and clinical relevance of our research, the CBCD has recently been awarded the 21st Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

Why are we doing this study?

Infants have an amazing capacity to learn from adults. Such capacity for social communication develops rapidly in the first few years of life. The main purpose of our study is to explore how sighted babies with blind parents develop the brain mechanism and skills for social communication. Moreover, we hope this study will tell us about the development of the infant brain, which adapts to their social environment and develops the skills to process and respond to the physical and social world.

What does the study involve?

You and your baby will visit the lab one to three times between 4 months and 12 months of age. During the visit your baby will complete very short tasks such as watching faces and colourful animations on a computer while sitting on your lap. Participation is voluntary and the whole visit is tailored to your child’s needs. The protocol of this study has been discussed in detail with a research officer from the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Further details of the study can be found in the Details of the Study page and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Where will the study take place?

The study will be conducted in our Babylab, in central London (WC1) on a date that is convenient for you. We will always cover your travel expenses when you come to the Babylab.  We can provide door-to-door taxi service if you live in the London area.  If you decide to travel to the Babylab by private car we reserve a parking space outside our building for visiting parents. Upon your arrival, please ring us from your car. Our staff will come to you, open the door and guide you to the Babylab. If you live outside of London, we can customise travel plans that are convenient for your needs. We reimburse all your travel costs and other expenses directly related to the visit, such as lunch.  We will also donate £30 worth of gift vouchers to you for compensation for your participation.

Who can participate in the study?

If you have had significant sight loss for at least 15 years and are unable to detect someone’s eyes from 50 cm or 20 inches away, and either have a sighted infant aged 0 to 12 months or are expecting a baby, we would like to invite you to participate in this study.

How to contact us

To receive further details about the study please register your baby on-line, email Ms Leslie Tucker or phone the CBCD directly on 020 7631 6325 (Leslie Tucker). You will in no way be obliged to take part in the study by requesting this information, and your details will not be given to anyone other than the people involved in the study at the CBCD.

We look forward to hearing from you!