By: Carmen Willings
Updated June 9, 2019
A person's self-concept is based on their sense of identity and rooted in their sense of self-worth. Families and teams need to encourage the student to develop a good self-concept as a person with a visual impairment. A societies values toward persons with visual impairments will contribute to the student's sense of self-worth and may prevent the student from feeling adequate. It is important to provide the student with opportunities to experience genuine success. Allow the student to make decisions, take responsibility, take risks, and foster independence.
There are a number of things you can do to help the student develop a positive self-concept. Begin by first valuing the student and pointing out the things they are able to do and are good at. This does not mean falsely building them up or giving them false praise, but genuinely pointing out their strengths. Let the student hear you provide praise of other students accomplishments as well. The student needs to understand that everyone has unique gifts and abilities. Emphasize that all people are to be valued without giving them a bloated ego. Let the student hear you rejoice (model self-praise) when you accomplish something so they can understand that it is OK to be happy about accomplishments. You can further help a student develop a positive self-concept by encouraging them to:
Problem Solving, Decision Making, & Planning
It is important for students to seek help when needed but learn from experiences in order to become as independent as possible. Students should be encouraged to be diligent and persistent and at the same time realistic and adapt or modify their goals as needed.
To help the student develop problem-solving, decision making, and planning skills, encourage the student to:
Glaser, Edie. All Children Have Different Eyes: Learn to Play and Make Friends...Starring Tommy and Nystagmus (wobbly eyes) and Wendy with Strabismus (crossed eyes). This interactive workbook models for children with visual impairments how to confidently and competently play and make friends while facing difficult social challenges, such as how to answer questions about their condition, enter playgroups, and handle their limitations responsibly.
BeYoutiful is a documentary about Sylvia Aponte who has a visual diagnosis of Leber's Congenital Amaurosis. The documentary shares Sylvia's story and her determination to achieve her goals and dreams.
Preparing students for college, career, and life starts early for students who are blind or visually impaired should start early. Equipping them with the skills to successfully and independently use assistive technology and advocate for their needs will help level the playing field and prepare them for future transitions. In this presentation I discuss strategies for working with on-grade-level students, providing instruction in low vision devices, providing braille instruction for students learning braille as a secondary mode, providing keyboarding and technology instruction and other ECC skills you can embed into instruction. This presentation is packed full of activities you can begin using immediately with your students!
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