Expanded Core Curriculum

Social Interaction Skills

These skills are essential if students are to develop friendships with their classmates and participate in activities typically associated with school-age students, whether educational or extracurricular. Having effective interpersonal communication skills is also highly correlated with employability in adults. For students who are sighted, social skills are primarily learned incidentally through interaction with family members and peers. Most of this learning occurs through observation, imitation and incidental experiences that are part of everyday routines. For students who are blind or visually impaired, this information must be provided through timely, insightful, and sequential instruction. Information associated with non-verbal communication (e.g., gestures, body language, facial expressions) or cultural practices (e.g., how close to stand to the person with whom you are speaking) must be made available to students who are blind or visually impaired. Furthermore, peers of students who are blind or visually impaired require specific instruction to increase their awareness of the implications of vision loss on social interaction if they are to become both comfortable in their interactions with their classmate who is blind or visually impaired and knowledgeable about how to include this student.

Taken from:
Alberta Education. Special Programs Branch. (2006).  Appendix A of Essential Components of Educational Programming for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

Helpful Links

What Social Skills Enhance Integration
Dr. Sharon Sacks provides a list entitled: ‘What Social Skills Enhance Integration’.

Teaching Social Skills
This is a resource list by the Texas School for the Blind’s for teaching Social Skills.  It includes many of the relevant assessment tools and curriculum guides that are commercially available, as well as the titles of several relevant articles in JVIB.

Socialization for Pre-school Children who are Blind
In this article, the author, Dr. Anette Ingsholt from Denmark, specifically addresses the socialization of preschool children that are blind or visually impaired.