Developing Social Skills - Vision Impaired StudentsGeoff BowenPsychologistStatewide Vision Resource Centre
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DISABLED STUDENTS
Non-disabled peers tend to react less favourably towards disabled children.
Less likely to initiate social interaction with disabled classmates.
Less likely to respond positively to the approaches of disabled peers.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DISABLED STUDENTSThere is a limitation of the positive learning experiences that children with disabilities have in their social interaction with other children.
They have fewer chances to interact with peers and on the other hand their attempts to use appropriate social skills are often not rewarded.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND DISABLED STUDENTSIt is not surprising therefore to find that disabled children often have social skill deficits.
The lack of success from social interaction may, in turn, produce poor self-image on the part of the disabled child. Spence, 1995.
FRIENDSHIP: THE SIGHTED AND VI STUDENT VI students list two significant criteria for friends: they dont make fun of my eyesight if I have problems they help me out
Sighted students the most important criteria for friends: they hang around with you they are fun
WHAT VISION IMPAIRED STUDENTS MISS OUT ONVisual modellingVisual cues to regulate social interaction E.g. Eye contact regulates conversation Turn taking.Visual feedback after their behaviour.Incidental social engagement.Freedom from the prying eyes of caring adults.Honest feedback from peers.
COMMON SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES OF VI STUDENTSFocus too much on themselves rather than others interest and concerns.Are not good listeners.Have poor gaze direction.Use inappropriate smiling.Avoid conflict.Have low levels of risk takingDont understand peer group rules and whats cool.
Make inappropriate movements, which emphasises how different they look.Demonstrate a lack of peer preference and affection.Give low levels of peer reinforcement.Have limited or no opportunities for reciprocity- they are always the ones who need assistance.Are unresponsive to overtures from others.Ask more questions and more irrelevant ones.
Suddenly and abruptly change a conversation topic.Are often over involved with adults.Miss contextual cues.Make too many demands on others.Show too much dependent behaviour (independence is confidence in action)Play with toys inappropriately or with inappropriate toys.Have low levels of collaborative skills for group work.
Look different and seem low in confidence.Stand too close.Are passive and unassertive.Use echolalic speech.Frequently have poor motor skills.
SKILLS AND BEHAVIOURS TO FOCUS ON Gaze direction and appropriate body posture.Controlling inappropriate movement.Active listening.Assertiveness (proactive and reactive).Sharing and taking turns.Cooperation.Joining in and approaching.
Giving and receiving compliments.Focussing on the interests and concerns of others.Expressing preference and affection.Conversational skills.Identifying peer group norms and whats cool.Giving peer reinforcement.Demonstrating competence.Demonstrating independence.
Conflict resolution.Tease proofing by learning internal emotional control.Learning to be open and cool about their disability.
STRATEGIES TO USE WITH VI STUDENTSCooperative activities and games.Direct teaching of social skills.Provision of social descriptions for students to work from.Peer prompting.Musical and sound games.Changing seating and grouping.Setting up a buddy system.
Discussing the skills of friendship.Developing independence.Giving opportunities for the students to demonstrate competence.Develop a risk-taking program.Setting up situations where the student helps others.Setting up opportunities for social interaction.Sharpening listening skills.
Using the same discipline system as is used with the other students.Involve parents in the development and implementation of the program. Have more regular PSG meetings where the students social development is a high priority.Encourage the development of social skills OF all students within the school.Self-monitoring of inappropriate movement.Positive encouragement & reward.
QUESTIONS TO EVALUATE SOCIAL SUCCESSDoes the VI student play with and talk to peers as much as do his/her classmates?
Do students talk with VI classmates in the classroom, play with them on the playground, and invite them to after school and weekend activities?
Does the VI student show affection and display preference for classmates?
Do you go out to observe interactions during recess, and intervene when necessary, so the VI student is not isolated in the playground?
How does the status of the VI student among his/her sighted classmates change during the school year, and how do interactions between the VI student and sighted classmates develop?
SELF PERPETUATING SOCIAL SKILLS PROGRAMSChanging the attitudes of non-disabled peers towards their disabled classmates, through discussion and education.
Teaching non-disabled children to initiate interaction with disabled peers and/or rewarding them for doing so.
Teaching non-disabled children to respond positively towards the social initiations of disabled peers and/or rewarding them for doing so.
Teaching non-disabled peers to train children with disabilities to use social skills. This method assumes that the training process will carry over into naturalistic situations and that peers will become naturally occurring triggers for socially skilled behaviour in real-life settings Social Skills Training by S Spence, 1995
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