Thursday, April 09, 2009

Why we let Acer run into things....

We're not being mean, we're teaching him to use his cane and his hands.  We've provided him with glasses to protect his totally non functioning eyes, but it comes down to.... independence.
 Here is a list from The Nat'l Fed. for the Blind (NFB) with suggestions for educators and aides which we adapted for ourselves.

A poster available upon request from the American Foundation for the Blind
National Literacy Center
100 Peachtree Street, Suite 620, Atlanta, GA 30303
(800) 232-5463 or e-mail Frances Mary D'Andrea at _literacy@..._

It often feels right to give help to students with visual impairments, but this may not be in their best interest. Use this list to help yourself to
step back:

1. You're stepping back so your students can step forward and become independent. Keep this in mind.
2. Clock how long it actually takes for students to start zippers, pick up dropped papers, or find page numbers. What's a few more seconds in the grander scheme?
3. Sit on your hands for a whole task while you practice giving verbal instead of touch cues. Hands off the hands!
4. If you need touch cues, try hand-under-hand instead of
hand-over-hand. This gives students much more choice.
5. Let your students make mistakes and get into trouble. It's part of the human experience!
6. Acknowledge your own needs. There's a reason you chose the helping profession.
7. Sit further away. If you've been within arm's reach, sit just
within earshot. If you've been sitting just within earshot, sit across the room.
8. Pat yourself on the back every time you help with seeing, not thinking. Your job is to give information.
9. Even though helping can feel right, be aware that too much
assistance is short-sighted. Sometimes less is more, less is better.
10. Catch yourself before you correct your students' work. Don't cover for them. This is about their skills, not yours.
11. Commit to no intervention for a whole activity. Take data instead. Things might not fall apart as much as you had expected.
12. "What page are we on?" "What's for lunch?" Have students ask their classmates instead of you, both during school and on the telephone.
13. Assign student learning partners and sighted guides.
14. Teach students to decline assistance, "Thanks, but please let me try it by myself."
15. Whenever you add prompts, include a plan to phase them out.
16. Let the boss know that you need to step back so that your students can be more independent. You're not shirking your responsibilities.
17. Collaborate with other adults to break your habits of helping too much. Agree to remind each other to step back.
18. Try helping only when classroom teachers give you a signal. They may prefer to respond directly or to give students longer to work it out alone.
19. Post a sign, "Are there any other ways I could step back?"
- Adapted from Classroom Collaboration by Laurel J. Hudson, Ph.D.,
Perkins School for the Blind


Rebekah Hubley said...

great reminder!!! I have this poster and I need to take it into Hannah's school... It is good for me to read that too! :-)

RamblingMother said...

So glad you have CA!! Great poster to remind to help give independence not help to take over a child's life!

Sharon said...

I just wanted to pop over and wish you and you precious family a very Happy Easter!! I will be thinking of you! Hope you take lots of shots!!

Spring said...

In all likelihood, I should print this out and post it on my fridge, because while none of my children happen to be visually impaired...I am a wee bit overprotective. Just a smidge :)

Timeless advice for parents everywhere.