Responsibility & Independence
By: Carmen Willings
Updated June 9, 2019
Students who are blind or visually impaired, particularly those with additional disabilities or those who are younger, require much one-on-one attention from staff. It is important for adults to find the balance between assisting the student and creating a learned dependency.
Tips for Teaching Responsibility
Avoid the "Good Fairy Syndrome"
Ensure that the student is part of each action to avoid the idea that coats magically hang themselves up, trash throws itself away, or food magically appears in front of them and disappears when they are done.
Encourage the student to participate in classroom or school jobs, such as taking the attendance list to the office or other information, watering the plants, working in the school office or cafeteria, or assisting a general education teacher with a project.
Encourage the student to be responsible for his or her belongings at school such as lunch money, a backpack, magnifiers, and other optical devices, an adapted computer, and note-taking equipment.
Teaching Search Pattern & Independence at Clean Up
Clean up time can be a great opportunity for incorporating concepts, working on upper body strength, following single and multi-step directions in addition to teaching responsibility. Some concepts include: putting toys and materials in and out of boxes/containers; likes and differences in materials as sorting to clean up; placing items on the top or bottom shelves; placing items on top of or underneath other objects; wide and narrow boxes/bins and shelves;bins being empty or full; and clean up by size. Encourage students to lift heavy boxes and filled tray and open cabinet doors to develop hand strength and upper body strength.
Encourage the student to independently or semi-independently put away their own toys, materials, or equipment in familiar locations or storage bins. Clean up time becomes easier when students are provided with clearly labeled bins in the appropriate learning mode (ex. object labels, print labels, braille labels). Refer to suggestions located in the Labeling System page of this website. It is important to teach systematic search patterns to help students that are visually impaired to be able to successfully locate items. This skill teaches spatial awareness and object permanence. Clean up time is a natural time to work on systematically searching for materials to put away.
It is important for students with visual impairments to develop good organizational skills. Students will not be successful in careers and in life if they can’t locate their possessions or store supplies in an expected manner. Persons with visual impairments must be able to locate ingredients to prepare a meal, locate and care for clothing, pay and file bills. These skills begin with a child learning to locate and put away their belongings. Adults and peers must avoid the temptation to obtain and put away materials for the student. Instead, caregivers and teachers must teach the student where items are stored as well as organizational systems that are used. In addition to learning where toys and supplies belong, students need to learn how to properly store materials and organize closets, cabinets, drawers, and pantries as well as how to use tools used in storage.
Students can practice organizational skills by:
Never do anything for a student that he is capable of doing for himself. If you do you, you’ll make him an educational cripple…a pedagogical paraplegic."
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