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Promoting Independence

Important considerations for parents of children with Visual Impairments (VI)

Much of the information was taken from the book, “Getting Ready for College Begins in Third Grade”, by Carol Castellano.

  • Become aware of blind VI people’s achievements
  • Raise your expectations
  • Learn the techniques that blind/VI people use to accomplish tasks

Promoting Independence

Academics

  • All adults must understand that the goals for the VI student are to participate fully and independently in class
  • Become a full participant in all classroom activities
  • Teachers must take the same responsibility for the education of the VI students as for the education of the sighted students in the room
  • All materials and presentation must be in an accessible form and ready when they are needed
  • VI student must receive instruction in areas such as braille, mobility, technology, etc.
  • The VI student must have a reading medium
  • School personnel must respect the cane and encourage the student’s independent mobility
  • Good communication among all members of the IEP team
  • The IEP should have an explicit goal of independence so that the student can become independent in the classroom and in all areas
  • The team must build in a timeline for independence (over time the student must become more independent and need less assistance)

Independent Living Skills

  • Develop time awareness and time management
  • Teach the following: wash hands, brush teeth, wash hair, bathe/shower, dress and undress, table manners
  • Observe what sighted children (your child’s age) are able to do in the kitchen and teach your child at least the basic skills
  • Household chores
  • Going to the store

Orientation and Mobility

  • Develop body awareness
  • Develop awareness of spatial concepts/positional concepts/environmental concepts
  • Sound and Echolocation
  • Experience with maps
  • Developing a store of knowledge (going places!!!)
  • Give child ample time for exploration and problem solving
  • Promote age-appropriate independence and autonomy

Social Awareness and Social Skills

  • Broaden your child’s experience
  • Teach child to play (share, pretend)
  • Develop personality (flexibility, judgment)
  • Don’t talk for your child
  • Let your child grow up
  • Teach conversation and social interaction skills (face the speaker, give and take – turn taking, keep conversation going, social signals to read, personal space, be interesting and interested)
  • Appearance
  • Manners and eating skills

Developing Self-Advocacy Skills

  • Don’t think accommodations…think skills (don’t think in terms of having things done for the child or making things easier for them; instead think about the child knowing how to do things!)
  • Acquiring the skills to get the job done and effectively communicating how they will accomplish the tasks
  • Developing competence through life experiences
  • Developing confidence

Visual Impairment Info

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