Helping Children Who Are Blind

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Encourage your child to contribute around the house, no matter how young they are. Pursue work opportunities. Help your child experience as many jobs as possible through work placements or internships. At Perkins School for the Blind, students are exposed to a wide array of vocations from a young age. As a result, they are better prepared to identify career goals as young adults. Have a back-up plan.

When Fitzgerald helps Perkins students map out their future, she makes sure to include more than one route. Include your child. Whenever possible, have your child participate in practical, real-life activities.

Strategies for Classroom Teachers

For example, have your child purchase ingredients for their lunch, and then prepare it independently. Follow a timeline. Each state has various requirements that families will need to meet in order to qualify for services and support. A checklist detailing what tasks need to be performed at what age can help families stay on track. Learn the system.

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When students who are blind in Massachusetts turn 22, most will qualify for some type of state service. Explore your options and the application requirements well in advance of that day. They may seem like a pain, but assessments provide valuable information about your child that state agencies use to determine eligibility for services, Fitzgerald said.

By teaching children these skills, you encourage positive growth and future success. Set appropriate goals. Before helping a child socialize, you must first identify goals and expectations.

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Establish what it means to both you and the child to have good social skills. This will help you understand what the child feels they need and expect in addition to your social standards. A child who exhibits an extroverted personality may thrive more on social stimulation, and actively seek out a connection with others.

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A child who is more introverted and may need more encouragement to connect with others, and more alone time to recharge. Get to know the child's personality and what they feel comfortable with, and provide unconditional support.

Helping children who are blind -- early assistance series for childreā€¦

Those who are blind or visually impaired may sometimes feel that they are not as competent as their sighted peers. Be an advocate for them, and let them know that being visually impaired does not have to stop them from forming meaningful connections with others. Encourage conversation skills. Children who are blind often struggle to maintain conversations.

A visually impaired child may have difficulty interpreting non-verbalized cues, and may feel reluctant to express their feelings or needs. They may need help learning how to engage in skills like carrying on a sustained conversation and staying engaged with another person.

These are teachable skills, so work on them with your child. Build their vocabulary. Blind children rely on words much more than other children do to express themselves. Help them express their thoughts, needs, and emotions by giving them the language to express themselves.

Teaching strategies for blind students

Model how to express feelings by doing so yourself. Emphasize taking turns. Both in games and interactions, taking turns is an important skill that children learn. Teach your child to take turns with other children. Start with games so that they know that everyone gets a turn. Then, extend this to conversations. Tell them that it is impolite to only ask questions or only focus the conversation on themselves.

Practice is Important

Encourage them to make friends. Push your child to make friends on their own without your help. Allow them to go to the park and play with other kids. Tell them to introduce themselves and then invite the children to play. Have your child invite another child over to play.

Allow your child to initiate social interactions so that they can practice and make friends. This way, your child will be in a familiar environment and play with children comfortably.

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If an interaction goes poorly, talk about it with your child and brainstorm ways to improve for next time. Build a support system. Talk to other parents of visually impaired children. Your children can also become playmates. Ask questions about what it was like while their child made friends and how they overcame challenges. Connect with a local group or find a support group online.

Method 2. Build non-verbal communication skills. Talk about and identify common gestures used in speech. Teach your child how to gesture and explain why people use gestures while speaking. Discuss nonverbal behaviors and how they communicate sometimes just as much as words.

Learning nonverbal cues can help your child communicate more effectively. Teach personal space. Help your child understand that people enjoy having some space around them. Many people are off put by someone being either too far or too close to them while they speak. If they are too near someone, gently encourage them to back up a bit. Talk about facial expressions.

What support is available in schools for children with a vision impairment?

Practice making faces together and discussing how they feel and why a person might make that face. Guide them to make these expressions and to feel them on your face. Method 3. Help them adapt to a new environment. Remember that a visually impaired children will need support and guidance in the classroom. Remember to use verbal descriptions and implement or talk to teachers about hand-over-hand instructional approaches, while working from behind the child.