Grade school life is a rich environment for learning problem-solving skills. Just think of the typical situations your child or family member who has a visual impairment confronts at this age:

  • Establishing and maintaining friendships
  • Handling sibling and other relational conflicts
  • Finding time and motivation to complete homework and study for exams
  • Establishing individuality while desiring to “fit in” with peers
  • Increased independence in mobility and self-care
  • Accessing technology and visual information
  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Handling the changes of puberty

Instead of immediately removing or solving problems for your child, consider problems as opportunities to train your child in problem-solving skills. Your child needs your coaching in learning to recognize and identify problems as well as in choosing and implementing solutions.

Instruction and rehearsal with support, followed by independent practice, will prepare your child to handle complex, emotional, or significant issues that will present themselves in adolescence and adulthood.

Examples of future complex, emotional, or significant issues include (but are certainly not limited to) accessibility issues, malfunctioning technology, mishaps on the job, managing conflicts at home and at work, job loss, locating a new job, obstacles in mobility routes, accumulation of debt, and unhealthy relationships.

Read APH CareerConnect’s problem-solving lesson plans and work with your child in the phases of problem-solving:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Gather information
  3. Anticipate outcomes and consequences
  4. Plan and implement steps to solve the problem
  5. Request, accept, and decline assistance
  6. Evaluate the outcome

The CareerConnect article “Solving Problems at Work” may help parents and older grade schoolers get a sense of the challenges a person with visual impairments might experience on the job.

One valuable career-building skill is being able to perceive your work as part of a larger company or organization. Identifying issues and solving them for the organization can be a key to advancement (see “Advancing in Employment: Solving Problems and Filling Gaps as a Professional Who Is Blind”).

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