Self-Care Skills for Blind or Low-Vision Children
When your child has completed high school and plans to attend college, technical school, or job training, what will they need to accomplish independently at home to take care of themselves?
- Personal hygiene: bathing, combing hair, dressing, shaving, applying makeup, feminine care
- Shopping for groceries, clothing, and home/personal items
- Meal preparation and cleanup
- Health management: maintaining a healthy lifestyle, medication use, emergency responses
- Financial responsibility
If all this feels enormously overwhelming, fear not. The goal for a grade-schooler is certainly not independent performance in advanced skills. Instead, the goal is to slowly familiarize your child with the tasks and expect increased independence over time.
Even young kids should start learning about grown-up things. They can learn why budgeting money is important, what shaving is, different ways to cook, and how to live healthily.
They don’t need to do everything right away. For now, understanding to use envelopes to save their allowance, know that razors are for shaving and need to be used safely, make toast and spread butter, and play a team sport.
If you teach your child these things little by little, they’ll be ready for more when they’re older. That way, they won’t be surprised by things like shaving lessons in high school.
Developing Self-Care Tips
- Talk with your child about your daily self- and family care.
- Invite your child to explore self-care items.
- Break down each task into small, sequenced steps for ease of learning.
- Incorporate organization into your task sequence. Always keep items in a consistent location.
- Ask yourself and your child whether you can make the task more accessible or simpler. Consider labeling, restructuring the process, using various assistive technologies, or adapting your home to achieve this.
- Help your child set self-care goals and focus your teaching on one task at a time.
- Help your child understand the value and purpose of each task.
- Work with your child through challenging skills.
- Don’t be surprised if they regresses in other skills as they are learning a new, complex skill.
- For the sake of safety, begin teaching the use of appliances with the power off.
- Your high expectations are essential to your child’s development of personal responsibility. Expect your child to accomplish for themselves all that they can accomplish.
- Provide realistic feedback as your child learns self-care skills.
For more information on teaching self-care skills, read the article, “Teaching Your Child Self-Care Skills.”