Case Study Reflection
On the Week 6 Discussion Board comment on either 1. or 2.
1. In your readings you’ve read about considerations for siblings who have a brother or sister with visual impairment. Consider some of the possible feelings Simon might be having. Simon’s parents are asking you for input about his behavior and what is happening. What suggestions might you have for Simon’s parents? Think of some possible solutions to the negative feelings Simon may have regarding his sister.
2. Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez are concerned about Vanessa being teased or ignored by the other children in high school. They worry about her starting out in school on the wrong foot. What could you tell them about how to promote positive interactions in her school?
Simon is Vanessa’s older brother who is in the tenth grade. He does not have a visual impairment. Simon loves to be active and to play outdoors. He is currently involved in a soccer league. He is generally cooperative; although his parents have noted an increase in rebellious behaviors since being in high school. Everything seems to be focused on Vanessa right now as she gets ready for high school. Simon is feeling left out, although he hasn’t identified it yet.
Consider some of the possible feelings Simon might be having. Simon’s parents are asking you for input about his behavior. What suggestions might you have for them? Think of some possible solutions to the negative feelings Simon may have regarding his sister.
The predominant feeling Simon may be experiencing is that of being left out and unnoticed. It is obviously important for all individuals, especially adolescents, to feel important and included in the activities they participate in, but this can be difficult if their sibling requires special treatment that circumvents their need for attention. This can lead to a build-up of resentment that manifests in the form of rebellious behavior.
His rebellious behavior is likely a channeling of the negative emotions he is unable to fully suppress; indeed, the neglect that he feels can lead him down the path of “bad attention is better than no attention at all.” Due to the circumstances, Simon especially as he is expected—both as the elder sibling and as an individual without a visual impairment—to hold the higher moral ground and compromise. As he is already in tenth grade, Simon is old enough to rationally understand the conditions behind the lack of inclusion, so he understands that the attention given to Vanessa is out of need and not out of spite.
Nevertheless, it is a natural reaction for any child or adolescent to feel neglected when more attention is given to their sibling. It could also feel like no matter what accomplishments or successes he achieves, nothing will be able to supersede Vanessa’s need for special treatment—and indeed very little can be more important, but at that point the feeling of resentment overpowers the logical reasoning of his mind. Moreover, it can be tiresome to always be referred to “Vanessa’s sister” – as a child, I remember being in my older sister’s shadow, and it often ate into my self-esteem since it felt like I had no voice.
Perhaps the best method of dealing with his behavior is to channel his frustration into something constructive. Simon is noted to be a soccer player; encouragement to pursue more sports-related activities could help with working off any frustrations, as well as build confidence. It is also something that can become “all his own”; soccer is his domain (unlike his parents’ attention) that he does not need to completely share with Vanessa. We could also go the other way that encourage Simon to be more involved in Vanessa’s life. This could foster a healthier sibling relationship, and perhaps lessen the feeling of neglect at the same time. As someone with two very opinionated sisters (one is a lawyer, one is on the debate team), it was always hard for me to voice my own thoughts; however, I am extremely close to both of my sisters, and the relationship itself trumps any resentment or neglect that I feel.
Communication is also imperative. Perhaps setting aside a little time every day for Simon for one-on-one discussions would alleviate his rebellious symptoms. Working through his problems and listening to any worries he may help Simon acknowledge that although his rebellious behavior is understandable from an emotional perspective, realistically it is 1) irrational, 2) unfair to everybody involved and 3) self-destructive in the long run.
Have your perceptions of people who are blind changed since the start of the course?
As a person without a visual impairment, I do not have firsthand experience dealing with circumstances regarding having low vision or being blind. However, I have experience working in an eye clinic as a patient counselor so I have come to understand from a patient’s perspective the more general obstacles they must overcome in order to go about their lives.
Honestly, the extent of my knowledge stemmed from my idolization of Nobuyuki Tsujii, a Japanese pianist with a congenital visual impairment who won the gold medal for the renowned 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. I remember following the competition closely (one of my studio classmates also participated, and ultimately won second prize) and watching videos of Tsujii give beautiful performance after beautiful performance, feeling a mixture of awe and depression knowing that I would probably never be as good as him.
Personally, the most impressive performance of his was that of the chamber music semi-finals. Eye contact is so important to me when performing with more than one person on stage and it blew my mind how he managed to adapt and work with the other musicians only through sound. I remember asking myself questions like “how does he know when to come in?” or “how can he send and receive cues?” I have enough trouble with chamber music even with 20/20 vision!
Since the start of this course, I have finally started to realize that there were so many adjustments that people with visual impairments must take just to go about their daily tasks not to mention their long-term plans. I have also learned that, at least in Canada, there are many resources available for individuals with low vision or who are blind.
One myth that I believed in was that with the absence of sight, the other senses would be highly developed or at least enhanced. Now I know that it is all about adaptability. Indeed, with the case of Tsujii, a part of me wondered if being blind gave him an advantage in terms of his auditory abilities—now that I know it doesn’t, and that he was just adapting to his situation, makes me respect him even more. Indeed, this led me to think about other musicians with visual impairments who still managed to have successful careers in music (Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles spring to mind), and I start to wonder what their childhood is like and whether they had access to the resources that we have learned about in this course.
Welcome to Classroom Inclusion of Students who are Blind and Visually Impaired. The purpose of the course is to familiarize you with a range of visual impairments and apply that to the wide variety of factors that influence classroom inclusion. If you are interested in a career as a teacher of students with visual impairments through the UBC program, this course serves as foundational knowledge to “jump start” your thinking about the educational needs of students with visual impairments. This course will also provide with you basic information about the nature of visual impairment and the factors influencing the classroom inclusion of students with visual impairments.
CASE STUDY FOR THE COURSE:
Throughout the course you will be engaging in some thinking activities to help you bring together the information you are learning in the course. Sometime you will be asked to think about what you are learning in the context of a case study. So…let’s meet the players who will pop up occasionally as we move from unit to unit! The Sanchez family has been involved with or will be involved with several different professionals that will work with Vanessa, their child with a visual impairment. The table below shows the individuals with whom the Sanchez’s will work. The description box gives you information about the case study.
Players Names Description
(Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez) Monica and Felipe are a married couple who live in Revelstoke, BC. Both parents work. Felipe works for the forestry department and Monica works in hospitality services at a local hotel. They are a middle aged couple young couple in their mid 30’s and have two children. Culturally they grew up in a country where residential schools were the norm. They are protective and apprehensive about Vanessa’s upcoming transition to high school.
The Child with a Visual Impairment
Vanessa Vanessa is turning 14. She is about to enter senior high. Vanessa has been previously educated in an inclusive setting. She is low academic and struggles in Math and Science. She is very social with peers and does not want to be treated differently. In elementary school Vanessa was very independent. She is looking forward to high school and expects to spend all of her time in the regular class. Vanessa is congenitally visually impaired due to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) which has led to retinal detachment and related scotomas. Her visual acuity is estimated at O.D. 20/600 and OS LP. She also has restricted peripheral fields. Motility is normal. She has difficulty with visual closure and part-whole relationships. While she has some vision, it is not efficient for reading and writing so she has learned Braille. She has a computer with speech and a refreshable Braille display
Simon Simon is Vanessa’s older brother who is in the tenth grade. He does not have a visual impairment. Simon loves to be active and to play outdoors. He is currently involved in a soccer league. He is generally cooperative; although his parents have noted an increase in rebellious behaviors since being in high school. Everything seems to be focused on Vanessa right now as she gets ready for high school. Simon is feeling left out, although he hasn’t identified it yet.
The Eye Care
(Dr. Olivia Thalman) Dr. Thalman has been involved in Vanessa’s eye care since she was born. Dr. Thalman’s main office is based out of Kelowna. Vanessa is currently seen yearly in order to monitor her vision.
Louie- Low Vision Optometrist
(Dr. Louie Vermicelli) Dr. Louie Vermicelli is an optometrist who has a specialty in low vision services. He currently is not involved in Vanessa’s case, but has a practice in the Kelowna area as well.
The Education Professionals for Visual Impairments
Tammie- The Teacher of students with Visual Impairments (TSVI or TVI) Tammie is a teacher of students with visual impairments who has worked with Vanessa and the Sanchez family for 5 years. Tammie is also based out of Kelowna; although she has a caseload of students branching out into the smaller towns along route 97 and route 1. She tries to provide weekly service to Vanessa but sometimes it is every two weeks. She understands the issues of successful inclusion and the necessity of careful planning
Amelia- Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist
Amelia is the orientation and mobility specialist based out of Kelowna who teaches independent travel skills to visually impaired students. Tammie has mentioned repeatedly to the Sanchez family that O&M with Amelia will be very important as she enters high school but the parents are resistant and would rather that she had someone with her. Vanessa wants O&M.
The Transition Team
Marie: Dept Head of Special Education in the high school Marie oversees the educational services for all students with special needs in the high school. She has never encountered a student with a visual impairment before. There are 2 resource rooms in the school, one for dependent and mentally handicapped students. Those students are integrated for socialization and complete their programs in the segregated class. The other one is for students who require learning assistance. They spend every afternoon in that class. Marie favours the latter for Vanessa’s but is aware that Vanessa will resist it.
Robert: The principal of the elementary school Robert has seen Vanessa blossom in elementary school and believes she will do well in high school if the proper supports are in place. He is concerned that if Vanessa is not fully integrated she will act out
Polly: The paraprofessional Polly has provided materials in Braille for Vanessa and has been responsible for the curricular adaptations that she requires. She was based in Vanessa’s classroom in Elementary school and will now be supporting her in high school. Polly believes that Vanessa’s success depends on her own ability to support her. She is confused about how it will work in high school with so many classes to attend.
The classroom teachers
The classroom teachers have never taught a student with a visual impairment and are unsure how to teach her. They are unfamiliar with Braille and the technologies Vanessa uses. They have many questions.
Sample Uses of the Case Study:
– Using the case study as a whole, discuss issues regarding the best placement for students like Vanessa.
– Using the different characters in the case study discuss teaming and working with various professionals. Whose needs are most important?
– Use Polly as a jumpstart to discussing use of paraprofessionals and the characteristics you would want in a paraprofessional.
– Use Simon as a discussion point about siblings and support of siblings.
– Use the Sanchez parents to discuss parental stress issues, coping, and support for parents. Add in the cultural diversity
– Use the case study to discuss transition issues and good transitional support for parents and the student.
– Use the case study to discuss the issues for inclusion that everyone will face
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