Meanings of Blindism

Blind people, deprived patients, hospitalized patients, autistic and mentally disabled people are prone to stereotypical movements, also known as blindism. Such stereotypes manifest themselves, for example, in the form of torso swings or head rocking and, in addition to the urge to move, are often related to calming down. In therapy, new forms of movement are made available to the patient.

What is blindism?

According to, movement stereotypes are repetitive, basically functionless sequences of movements or forced movements. As a symptom, the stereotypies characterize a number of behavioral disorders. For example, hospitalized toddlers often rock their torso from side to side for reasons of mental deprivation.

Movement stereotypy is derived in most cases from behavioral tendencies or intentional movements that are inhibited from continuing. Blindism corresponds to such stereotypical behavioral problems. The stereotypes of movement of blindism are often observed in people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired. The characteristic movement patterns are mainly in a head rocker and upper body rocker.

In addition, some sufferers bore stereotypically with their hands in the eyes. In addition to the blind and visually impaired, autistic people and patients with other disabilities also carry out movement stereotypes of this kind. Movement stereotypes that arise, especially in small children, are therefore often interpreted as signs of an intellectual disability and are therefore associated with a certain stigmatization. In many cases, those affected are severely affected by the stereotypes in social life.


As a being, humans are geared towards movement and experience. Everyone has a certain need for movement and a curiosity to discover the environment while moving. This relationship is even more important for animals. Because of these contexts, stereotypes of movement can often be observed in captive animals due to the limited range of movement available.

The cause of human movement stereotypes is also a lack of alternative or advanced forms of movement. Especially blind and visually impaired people, but also autistic and other handicapped people are more or less impaired in the independent exploration of the environment in motion. Although they can theoretically move, they are still limited when moving in the environment due to their inability to react to environmental conditions.

Your body so often compensates for the unsatisfied need for independent movement in movement stereotypes. Through the stereotypes, the person concerned wants to counter the restricted enjoyment of the possibilities of movement. Symptoms of blindism can also be observed as a deprivation symptom in lonely and neglected people.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

Blindism can manifest itself in different stereotypes of movement. The best known system is the torso or head swing of the patient. However, many also drill their own eyes. The technical term Jactatio corporis refers to stereotypes such as weighing, rocking or rocking the upper body. A sub-form of this stereotype is the pagoda wobbling, which is characterized by extremely slow forward and backward bending of the trunk.

This symptom tends to affect less blind people than children with cognitive disabilities. In this context we are also talking about a wax stereotype, which is sometimes also observed in hospitalism or on autistic people. The term jactatio capitis refers to stereotypical head shaking. With all movement stereotypes, those affected achieve either calming or stimulation in order to feel their own body.

In most cases, these simple forms of movement quickly lose their pleasurable quality due to the repetitions. For this reason, the intensity, speed and power of stereotypical movements tend to increase over time. Basically, all movement patterns of blindism are uniform, repetitive movements that are carried out essentially independently of any external influences. Blindism quickly becomes a problem for the development of blind children as learning and environmental experiences are impaired.


The diagnosis of a movement stereotypy of blindism is made by eye diagnosis or by observation and anamnesis. Since the symptoms of blindism have different causes and can be associated with different primary diseases, a cause must be recorded as part of the diagnosis.

In the differential diagnosis, all movement stereotypes due to brain damage can be ruled out. The prognosis for patients with blindism is relatively favorable. Complete healing successes are now often achieved.


Blindism can lead to various complications, which depend heavily on the severity of the disease. As a rule, mental health problems arise in the first place. Especially with children, the bizarre movements of the head and arms lead to social exclusion, bullying and teasing. This often leads to stress, depression and other psychological limitations.

The self-esteem of these people is greatly reduced, so that in the worst case scenario, thoughts of suicide and ultimately suicide can occur. The movements also mean that those affected cannot concentrate properly, so that they disturb the learning atmosphere and need a special way of learning themselves. In many cases, patients with blindism require special care, especially children.

The intellectual disability restricts the patient’s life in adulthood, so that the exercise of an activity is not easily possible. Depending on how much the child’s development was influenced, blindism also occurs more or less in adulthood. Due to the bizarre movements, muscles can also be dislocated, but this rarely happens.

When should you go to the doctor?

Blindism should definitely be treated by a doctor. The earlier this disease is treated, the greater the likelihood that the person will be completely cured. In many cases, the disease is not immediately noticeable to the person affected, so that outsiders in particular have to draw the patient’s attention to the symptoms.

A doctor should be consulted if the patient is rocking, rocking, or moving his head continuously. These complaints mainly occur in blind people. Stinging fingers in the eyes can also indicate blindism and should definitely be checked by a doctor. In children, too, it is necessary to see a doctor at the first signs of this disease.

In this way, further complications and consequential damage can be avoided. As a rule, a psychologist can be consulted with this complaint. However, treatment or therapy from a specialist who can look after blind patients is still necessary. This can limit the symptoms in the long term.

Treatment & Therapy

The symptoms of blindism are treated depending on the cause. For example, treatment of blindism after deprivation requires different measures than treatment of blindism in blind people. In many cases it is sufficient to provide the person concerned with exercise options in the form of rhythm, sport or play and to guide them in practicing new forms of exercise.

Often rhythmic acoustic, visual, but also tactile and motor stimulations are used for stimulation. It is important that the patient trusts the attending therapist and can at least partially open up to him. Treatment is often supported by curative education. Patients without designed activity options are strengthened in their ability to achieve individual effects.

They also receive help to differentiate movement and support for further interest in learning new forms of movement. Blind and visually impaired people sometimes only suffer from blindism because they feel unsafe in their surroundings and therefore do not dare to move around appropriately. In such a case, those affected are given security in the therapy so that they can learn to find their way around better.

Outlook & forecast

The healing prospects of blindism are to be classified as good with a sufficient and optimal therapy. The therapy options have improved significantly in recent years and have been increasingly tailored to the individual needs of blindism patients. In cooperation with relatives and the patient, a great deal can be done together with doctors and therapists to alleviate the symptoms.

A significant improvement in the quality of life is achieved if the instructions, training and benevolent tips are followed and implemented independently. Freedom from symptoms is possible, but the aim of the treatment is to optimize the options available.

The treatment plan for blindism disease is considered to be extensive and should be implemented by relatives and the patient for optimal outcome. In addition, the patient usually suffers from other underlying diseases, the therapies of which must be integrated. This represents a major challenge for all involved.

The exercise units for movements, therapeutic support and stimulating training to improve sensorimotor functions increase the chances of recovery. In addition, methods are used to support the development of existing cognitive performance.

In addition to the movement exercises, these are particularly important for alleviating the symptoms. Since blindism disease affects visually impaired patients, psychotherapeutic support improves their well-being. In this, the patient learns how to deal with the disease.


Blindism cannot be completely prevented. Since the movement stereotypies can have a wide variety of causes, the possible prophylaxis is limited to the preventive measures for the individual causes.


Therapy can successfully treat blindism. A recurrence of many complaints is possible, but not likely if you follow the preventive strategies you have learned. What is essential is the independent implementation of the training and behavioral tips. It is best to involve family members in the ongoing exercise.

A loving environment has been proven to reduce the discomfort. Parents of children in particular have a duty at this point. Successful treatment for the first time in no way implies lasting immunity. On the contrary, complications can occur again and again. As the child grows up, it is subject to exclusion as it ages.

Some scientists even assume that a certain intellectual disability inevitably occurs. Treatment is therefore necessary on an ongoing basis. The doctor orders therapies for movement differentiation. It appears problematic that the persons affected suffer from the underlying disease for the rest of their lives. So there is a permanent visual impairment.

A constant uncertainty accompanies life because the perception is weakened in comparison to other people. The aftercare therefore provides therapy offers that are intended to steer everyday life in an orderly manner. This minimizes behavioral problems. The patient and his environment must independently assess the current situation and request help from the doctor.

You can do that yourself

Blindism is a phenomenon that visually impaired children with autism, hospitalism and intellectual disabilities show from birth. There are now new successful therapy methods. A secure, loving home environment is extremely important for children with blindism.

Therefore, parents should work with therapists and doctors to create a treatment plan for the well-being of the child and his needs with regard to self-help. The earlier affected children learn to find their way around in their own home, the sooner they can act in a strange environment, since as adults they often live in a supervised facility.

At home, parents can use play materials to stimulate the senses to train and sharpen the sensorimotor and cognitive skills of blindism children. If parents have musical skills, the child can be introduced to the world of sounds by means of a musical instrument or they can undergo musical movement therapy.

In this way, acoustic perception can be promoted in a targeted manner. At the same time, a visit to a curative education facility is recommended as early as infancy. This reduces movement insecurities and stereotypical movement sequences.

If the parents support the child in everyday life with therapeutically conveyed exercises, they can experience new movement patterns and learn to live with their visual impairment.


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