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Bullet Point Issue 6 now available featuring topics such as development during pre-school years, visual impairment and other disabilities, click here to find out more.

Education: The Great Equaliser!

Hello and welcome,
The following points have been expanded in the books available via my web site. They contain much more about accessing learning and the development of valuable skills.

Rgds Clive.

If You Don’t Do It Who Will?


Social skills, inclusion and making friends


For many, meaningful inclusion is not taking place. Your child or young person is not, or has not become a full member of school or college life. The same might have occurred in the home community too. S/he may be isolated. What can you do?

A visual impairment can restrict the development of social skills. It can impact on for example:

  • Interaction with peers

  • Social inclusion

  • Social skills acquired through experience

At school or college a lack of social inclusion may become particularly apparent during,

  • Break times and lunchtimes


During lunchtimes for example, poor inclusion might stem from your child,

  • Not understanding the routine

  • Not being able to access menus


It is not uncommon for a child or young person with a disability and specifically one with a visual impairment to be socially naïve …

Emotional Literacy

The development of emotional literacy is often based on visual and non-verbal communication skills …

Developing literacy in feelings can be vital …

Your child or young person’s peers can, however, misinterpret a lack of gestures, unconventional body language and mannerisms possessed by your son or daughter.

On the other hand your child or young person may not know when to,

  • Join in


Modelling Behaviour

Your challenge therefore, is to teach your child or young person how to make the right choices when it comes to social behaviour …

Behaviour is not fixed: it can be changed …

Fundamentally though, you need to be totally consistent in your day-to-day dealings with your child or young person …


  • It is much better to catch your child or young person performing well and reward that behaviour rather than constantly drawing attention to unsuitable behaviour.


The Challenge

  • Develop responsive social skills to include the development of empathy



  • Encourage everyone to recognise the strengths of your child or young person


Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning

Children or young people do better at school or college if they are aware of their emotions. A discussion about feelings can be important …


To highlight issues and make the piece less abstract the disability used is visual impairment. However, the points raised could equally apply to other disabilities too.

Peer Group Support and Developing Friendships

To develop friendships those around your child or young person must be able to empathise with a disability …

Consider three points,

  • It is not uncommon for a school or college to see a child or young person with low vision as being happy and socially integrated with parents seeing a different situation


Children or young people with appropriate social and emotional skills are more likely to be confident with a positive self-image. Consequently, they are more ready to learn …

Making successful friendships is a very important part of developing social and emotional skills …

There is often an assumption that children and young people just make friends and develop relationships. In reality many with low vision may face challenges …

School or College Life and the Social Experience

The quality of school or college life can be related to social experiences; for example,

  • The friends your child or young person has


Friends provide very important social and emotional support …

When interacting with friends, an individual should ideally have equal status …

Mixing with Friends and Social Understanding

When children or young people interact with friends they are more likely to,

  • Have less hostile conflict situations and be more able to resolve them


Functional friendships give children and young people opportunities to care about, understand and respond to the feelings, needs and concerns of others …

When children play with friends they establish a shared world in which language and play helps them develop understanding …

Standard Avenues May Be Closed

At school it may be necessary to utilise different strategies for developing friendships. This may result through encountering the following,

  • A difficulty in finding friends during play time which impacts on the time available


All of these may result in a child trying to develop friendships at inappropriate times and in inappropriate ways …

Creative and Structured Opportunities

Children or young people with low vision are likely to need more experiences to develop friendships whilst life may offer fewer …

Your child or young person may need the opportunity to engage in all types of social situations which are set up in order to stimulate appropriate social development; for example, they may need an opportunity to,

  • Listen to others



All of this might require an adult to help and explain events and promote understanding about what is happening around your child or young person. However, this also means adults,

  • Avoid too much involvement



  • It may be helpful for your child or young person to be given opportunities to interact with others who are more socially competent and represent good role models


What Are You Specifically Trying To Do?

During opportunities to develop social skills you are offering your child or young person ways to learn, practice and discuss issues around social interaction …

Building effective inclusion may require the development of self-esteem and confidence.

You may also need to show your child or young person how to,

  • Gain attention, begin and maintain conversation


  • Assist others and not be the only one needing assistance

Effective monitoring of social interaction and the development of friendships and social skills is extremely important …


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