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Do:

  1. Encourage independence
  2. Encourage leisure skills (both personal and group types)
  3. Learn survival skills (handling money, traveling, etc.)
  4. Practice reciprocal conversation./li>
  5. Learn acceptable manners
  6. Learn to manage temper
  7. Learn the difference between assertiveness and aggression
  8. Learn the basics of good grooming
  9. Develop a knowledge of the world of work
  10. Develop helping skills
  11. Learn coping strategies ("What do I do if...)
  12. Learn to show appreciation and reciprocal behaviors
  13. Learn the vernacular
  14. During the learning period, keep anxiety at a minimum by making social situations brief.

Don't:

  1. Teach skills in isolation; they must be transferable.
  2. Expect to be like someone else; each person is unique.
  3. Over schedule activities; hurrying creates confusion.
  4. Monopolize conversations; listening is important.
  5. Expect special privileges; "belonging" means fitting in.
  6. Expect others to solve your problems; learn to problem solve independently.
  7. Confuse aggressive and assertive; one feels angry, while the other is calm.
  8. Expect perfection; Rome wasn't built in a day!
  9. Accept withdrawal; social means interaction.
  10. Try to joke too early; humor is a useful tool, but can be embarrassing if used inappropriately.

Tips For Parents:

  1. Teach acceptable manners, in various situations.
  2. Teach practical skills.
  3. Encourage problem-solving.
  4. Encourage independence.
  5. Encourage the development of interests/talents/capabilities.
  6. Discuss social situations, before and after...
  7. Provide structured activities that practice social skills.
  8. Encourage group participation.
  9. Help your child dress as his/her peers do.
  10. Explain visual cues/body language.
  11. Don't accept inappropriate behavior - EVER!
  12. Give family responsibilities, and expect performance.

The child with visual impairments has only others to teach appropriate social skills; silence does not teach these skills.

Adapted from a presentation about social skills at the CEC Conference in San Francisco, April 3-7, 1989.

Presentor was Olivia Schoenberger, Vision Consultant, ESC Region 19, El Paso

This document is a resource for the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).