Independent living skills are the activities people perform, according to their abilities, which enable them to manage their homes and personal lives. The development of independent living skills is important to all students and particularly with students who are blind and visually impaired.
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By: Carmen Willings
Updated June 9, 2019
The following adaptations can help the student develop independence and confidence in locating, identifying, cutting, and seasoning foods. These skills can be practiced at home so the student feels confident in transferring these skills to new settings.
Locate Place Setting
Encourage the student to use the following techniques:
Orient to Contents on Plate
Instruct the student in the following possible techniques:
Advise the student to locate which edge of a knife is used for cutting by running the edge of the knife along the edge of the plate as opposed to using the finger. Stab the meat with the fork and use the edge of the fork prong to guide the knife.
Spreading Semi-Soft Foods
Instruct the student to locate the edge of the knife used for cutting (see above). Place the flat edge of the knife at the end of the stick and slide it along the stick. Have the student place the pat of butter in the center and use a systematic pattern to spread out to the edges.
Salt & Pepper Foods
Instruct the student to tell the difference between salt and pepper by shaking the containers slightly. Salt is heavier than pepper. Advise the student to shake the salt or pepper directly into the hand and then apply it to food. Teach the student to use tactile discrimination skills to tell the difference between sugar packets, creamer and salt/pepper packets. Tear the top corner and don't completely remove as it may fall in food.
Use Fork and Spoon
Instruct the student to use a slice of bread (or other "pusher" item like a knife or other piece of food) in the non-dominant and help push the food onto the fork,
Cafeterias & Buffets
While independence is ideal, buffets pose a particular challenge for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Advise the student to ask for assistance from a sighted person to avoid accidents or contamination of food. The sighted person can describe the food while holding the tray. Instruct the student how to stabilize drinks on the tray
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