Getting Your Teen Who Is Blind or Low Vision to Participate in Family Activities
Navigating the teenage years can be challenging, especially when your child is blind or has low vision. As teens naturally gravitate towards independence and peer relationships, it’s common for them to show less interest in family activities. However, there are effective strategies to encourage their participation and maintain family bonds.
The following are some suggestions for encouraging your teenager to participate in family get-togethers:
Involve Them in Planning
Engage your teen in organizing family activities. Whether it’s choosing a movie for a family night or researching hotels for a trip, involving them in the decision-making process can boost their interest in participating. This also offers a chance for them to practice using assistive technology and develop social skills.
Allowing your teen to invite a friend to family outings can enhance their enjoyment. This not only provides insight into their social interactions but also offers an opportunity for you to give constructive feedback on their social skills.
Include your teen in activities that might not be fully accessible to them. For instance, if attending a visually-oriented event like a dance recital, be prepared to describe the action. Encourage them to bring an alternative activity, like a book or MP3 player, to engage with during less accessible parts of the event.
Public Transportation Exposure
Make choices to use public transportation during family outings. This experience is invaluable for teaching your teen the skills needed for independent travel and reinforces the idea that driving is not the only mode of transportation.
Encourage Use of Assistive Devices
If your teen uses optical aids, encourage their use in family activities. For example, using a monocular at a sports event can enhance their experience. Be sensitive to any embarrassment they might feel using these devices in public, and balance encouragement with understanding.
Fostering participation in family activities for a teenager who is blind or has low vision involves a blend of inclusion, independence, and sensitivity. By involving them in planning, incorporating their friends, considering accessibility, exposing them to public transportation, and encouraging the use of assistive devices, you can help maintain strong family connections while supporting their journey towards independence.