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THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY AND
SCHOOL IN THE REHABILITATION
OF THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED IN DEVELOPING THEIR BASIC
The basic daily skills required
by the visually impaired form the basis of the rehabilitation program.
Practical procedures and specific techniques are used to help them carry
out their daily tasks and this gives them independence and autonomy.
The individual s potential , interests and expectations are taken into consideration and the basic skills developed bring about the development of cognition , motor perception, affection and social integration.
The rehabilitation work carried out at Cepre involves family orientation, visits to the school and home ,individual sessions with the handicapped child and orientation for the teachers involved in a regular school. The family , the school and the community are agents in the development of the child s skills and help in improving the visually impaired s quality of life.
Author: SONIA MARIA CHADI
DE PAULA ARRUDA
Most of today s societies are branded by technological progress which transforms and transmits information and knowledge at a high velocity producing brusque and profound changes in the social system.
Handicapped people are included as integral and active members of the society in which they live and therefore subject to the social changes brought about by scientific progress (Mazzotta, 1995).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 10% of the population is handicapped.According to the WHO , in Brazil about 1% to 1.5% of the population is visually handicapped . The incidence of low vision is greater than that of blindness. 80% of the visually impaired who study in the public school system of the State of São Paulo have low vision and 20% are blind (S.E. e C.E.N. P, 1993).
The Government has proposed a new educational policy in which the handicapped are included in a single educational system ,paricipating on equal terms with the rest.According to Mantoan , in an integrated system the oppotunities are the same and the environment has the least number of restrictions which favors the development of the democratic ideal(MANTOAN,1995) .
However , inorder to integrate the family , school and community , a visually handicapped person just like any other person , has to be able to interact with people and objects accomplishing basic routine skills in the home and outside . These skills are of fundamental importance for participating in the social environment with moral and intellectual autonomy.
This study aims at presenting the role of the child , family and school in the development of Daily Basic Skills (local activities ) -DBS and Daily Practical Skills (external activities ) - DPS ,which form the foundation for rehabilitation.
Daily Basic Skills are an important part of the development of the visually handicapped and they contribute towards an overall development that results in the integration of the family , school and community .
This study is important because it deals with the implications and the application of the development of skills, as well as the difficulties encountered by the teachers and family in helping to accomplish the DBSs and DPSs as a result of the lack of credibility in the capacity of the person who is either blind or has low vision to develop these skills without knowing how to efficiently perform these in practice .
Routine skills performed on a daily basis are defined as Daily Basic Skills. An intervention in this area is very important in his formation and integration of the visually impaired. (DBSs include the practical skills).
Daily Basic Skills are skills related to practical knowledge and specific techniques that help handicapped people carry out daily tasks . They understand that the development of physical , mental and social skills are prerequisites in accomplishing different activities.
The development of BDSs guarantees maximum satisfaction in relation to daily necessities and increases self confidence which results in conquests and regaining the right to citizenship (MEC/SEESP, 1995).
The visually handicapped
can get to know the real form by developing the BDSs, using if necessary
specific adaptations so as to be aware and understand the actions performed.
Inorder to accomplish these activities alone and efficiently, it is important
that the individual knows and understands what he is doing , that he is
aware of the process involved and the implications in carrying out the
activity (PIAGET, 1978).
At the Research Study and Rehabilitation Center "Prof. Dr. Gabriel de Oliveira da Silva Porto" ,of the Faculty of Medical Sciences , State University of Campinas(UNICAMP) ,the sector of Daily Basic Skills works directly with blind or low vision children and adults and in a special group context , it helps the family , school and community understand and accept their performance in various daily situations.
II - METHODOLOGY
Intervention in the sector of basic daily skills is one of the procedures in the program offered by an interdisciplinary team at CEPRE .
The children sent to this sector are evaluated with reference to their performance , their needs and their interests in activities.An individualized program with adequate objectives ,proposals and personalized stages of development is elaborated.
The family is guided to progressively help in the acquisition of DBSs together with behavior that is acceptable and desired by the social group . AMIRALIAN,1986 , stresses the participation of the family in the development of visually impaired children.An efficient participation together with the individual brings about understanding and interaction in interpersonal relations .This bond is fundamental for the acheivement of progress.
The teachers and employees
of a regular school are orientated about the pecularities of a visually
handicapped child and the specific intervention needed to help and increase
Four procedures are used in the methodology of intervention :
1 st. PROCEDURE - Parent Groups : Proposals for Daily Basic Skills
Four groups are formed of mothers and /or fathers of low vision or blind children,who are clients of the Children s Program at CEPRE.There are weekly sessions of an hour each , at the DBS room.
The family starts participating immediately after the child is admitted at the institution . Each group has an average of 45 sessions per year . They are not closed groups.
The group work developed has two stages :
The first stage : the parents are given an opportunity to present , discuss and experience various day to day skills according to their interests and needs and also according to each participant s life history and social context. As can be seen by the results, doubts about the accomplishment of skills by the visually impaired are cleared . The family understands the importance of the family in the child s development and does not expect only the school to be responsible for the transmission of knowledge.
The professional in charge of this activity has the specific needs of each child.These are obtained during individual interviews and from data in the individual s dossier . This helps in producing pertinent reflections during the activities . The parents are led to "discover" the techniques of intervention through an exchange in roles , debates , and diverse experiences . These techniques help in creating different skills for their children and as a result the bonds between them are strenghtened.
The second stage :
The parents actively participate during snack time . They are responsible in transmitting confidence , procedures and specific techniques so as to make sure the children accomplish their tasks successfully. The parents are made aware of the importance of BDSs and their role as molders in the development of the child . They can reciprocally integrate , learn and teach.
2nd. PROCEDURE - Individual
Individual attention is given only when intervention by the group of parents and the snack group are not enough to efficiently accomplish DBS s . The attention given is specific and accompanied by the mothers or those responsible . The program focuses on affective , social , motor perceptive and cognitive objectives so as to bring about the integral development of the child (MANTOAN, 1988) .
3rd. PROCEDURE - Domiciliary
visits and work
Visits and work at home are some of the stratergies used in intervention. The physical aspects of the home and the family relationship are noted . If necessary, organizational adaptations are made so that the child can participate actively.
4th - PROCEDURE -Work at School
Teachers and other school employees who work with students sent by CEPRE are given orientation and accompaniment in relation to specific DBS for the visually impaired . According to FOREST e LUSCHANS (without date ) , the teachers should understand and learn to look for " the single baggage of culture , talent and individual necessities ".
This procedure has helped and hastened the integration of the student in the school and assured his independence and autonomy.The other students in the school learn to respect and to get to know their handicapped fellow classmate. This guidance takes place at CEPRE and /or at the regular school where the child is enrolled. The school can contribute towards the inclusion of handicap students by having a favorable approach towards the admission of these children in a regular school
Evaluation according to this methodology is a continuous process. There are semestral interviews with the teachers and parents .During these interviews they report and clarify difficulties as well as discuss the results of the intervention.
The propositions and themes disscussed are relative to :
LIST OF SKILLS TO BE DEVELOPEDpersonal
hygiene ( wash hands, put toothpaste on toothbrush, brush teeth , comb
hair , Take a shower , use shampoo , cut /file nails , to find /distinguish
cleaning products , hygiene after using the toilet /restroom etc...); Dressing
up (distinguish , localize, identify and organize clothes and accessories
; distinguish back /front , right side /wrong side ;dress/undress , tie
a knot and bow, to put on / remove socks and shoes ; hang up , store etc...);
food (orientation and the control of the food in the plate , using cutlery
, serving others / serving himself liquids and solids; locate, distinguish
and use different ingredients or utensils ; prepare snacks and juices ,
eat , drink etc...); Work in the Home ( distinguish name , identify, locate
and use furniture /objects in the home ; House Cleaning :dusting , sweeping
, washing , ironing , washing dishes etc...); social habits (greetings
, right posture , body gestures , politeness , etc...).
Different activities involve specific abilities ,which are pre-requisites for a good performance. Some of these are highlighted like : overall coordination , good equilibrium, body scheme ; space ,temporal , language orientation etc. . In relation to activities and skills the specific characteristics of the child are considered - pathology , optical aid , chronological age , age at which vision was lost. , etc.....
An analysis of the skill is of basic importance for its planning and development as it provides information about the pre -requisites required for a certain skill and the physical conditions of the locality as well the personal conditions the child requires inorder to accomplish the activity.
The skills are easily learnt and absorbed when the subject himself is interested in its accomplishment "children have more opportunities to discover concepts and notions by active exploration of objects rather than by the opportunities offered by the school environment" (ASSIS, 27, 1989) .
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
On considering the performance of the child in the institution , family and school, the methodology used in developing Daily Basic Skills at CEPRE has shown significant results.
The data collected during the procedures and that obtained during the semestral interviews with the parents and teachers showed that about 85 % of the families attended to , improved significantly. The highlights were : a greater bond between the handicapped child and the parents , brothers and sisters and other family members ; a greater cooperation and participation of the child in daily tasks ; the intervention of the parents and family as helpers in accomplishing activities ; greater independence and a better performance of the child at a regular school ; better intervention conditions for the school professionals .
The themes were discussed and orientation was given daily at the school and at home with family , according to the overall progress of the child . According to the pathology and specificity of the child , adaptations of the resources used were suggested. In children having low vision, optical or non optical aids were used. In the case of blind children , the aim wasto increase comprehension of the situation using dialogs and experience through concretization .
The participation of the parents is extremely important as the child is at the institution for only a few hours every week and a great part of the child s life is spent with the family , which is responsible for the physical and intellectual well being of the child and for a convenient integration with society.
The parent s involvement at the beginning was very limited . As time went by , they began looking for information and bringing information , they understood the problem created by the deficiency , they showed interest and began to work and play with the children . They used symbolic games so that the children could understand and use their DBS independently and in this way contributed towards an improvement in the quality of life of these children.
The parents who participate in these groups have the opportunity to discuss pertinent topics with their partners and this has helped " in resolving their problems and/ or their difficulties". The participation of the family , school and community in bringing about intergration at school is uncontestable . Parents are the first educators and as such they guide and direct their children s lives.
IV - CONCLUSION
This study shows that there are some essential aspects in the education of the visually impaired that guarantee their development and social integration.
We stress the need for an active participation of the family in the development of the child. When the parents are given orientation and information, they can propitiate the integral development of their children , helping them to get to know and understand the processes involved in a day to day life. As a result ,both the handicapped person as well as the family can put into practise their civil rights .
Another important factor shown in this study is the interaction with a regular school. An exchange of knowledge and information help in continuous growth which is essential for the development of the professional and consequently of the student .
A reluctance in extending schooling possibilities to the handicapped is due to the lack of an academic background , lack of technical resources and architectonic barriers. This results in an unacceptance of handicapped people by the community. Society should focus on this subject and invest in the education its members .
We feel that the family , school and community can become formative agents if they use this pedagogical process and in this manner help to improve the quality of life of the visually impaired.
Integration does not mean ignoring specificity , but improving it by exercising daily.
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