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  • NARRATOR: A graphic of the Perkins logo

  • swoops across the screen, revealing a chapter heading:

  • "The Early Development of Social Skills."

  • TOM MILLER: We begin to pick up social cues

  • and develop social skills from birth.

  • I mean, the bonding of the parent and the child

  • develops a sense of trust, mutual respect, turn-taking,

  • communication, all the things that we build on

  • throughout our lives to enhance our social skills.

  • NARRATOR: Two young girls who are visually impaired

  • sit on the floor facing one another and play with a ball.

  • Sitting behind each of the girls is a teacher,

  • and the teachers prompt the girls to take turn.

  • TEACHER: Ready?

  • One, two, three.

  • MILLER: Well, if you have vision and hearing,

  • you develop social skills through observation, primarily.

  • You know, you're able to see what other people do

  • and begin to make judgments.

  • And you see things over and over again, so you see...

  • in the playground, you'll see kids playing games

  • and you'll learn the rules from your interactions,

  • many times just by watching,

  • whereas if you don't have sight or hearing,

  • you miss all those cues.

  • NARRATOR: We see several blind and visually impaired children

  • playing on a swingset and other playground equipment.

  • Social cues and how we see them relative to ourselves

  • or reactions of others to us

  • and how we react to others are really essential.

  • If you can't pick up on social cues, you begin to--

  • you'll see it in regular education, too--

  • you begin to lose friends, because all social relationship

  • is based on the ability to give feedback

  • and, you know, for many of us, that feedback comes visually.

  • So I can look at someone, they're nodding their head,

  • you know, I can look at them and they're sitting like this,

  • then, you know, I know they're not listening.

  • And I use those cues to interpret things all the time.

  • NARRATOR: In a series of photos,

  • we see three teenage friends who are blind

  • sitting on a low stone wall,

  • chatting with a young woman in a motorized wheelchair.

  • In the next photo,

  • a boy who is visually impaired approaches the group.

  • We then see him engage the girl in the wheelchair

  • in a conversation about the contents of a box he is holding.

  • I think the challenges of not learning social skills early on

  • and then not having them when you reach adolescence

  • is that you can tend to become more and more isolated.

  • I go into public schools all the time, and you observe--

  • and it can happen even at a residential school--

  • but you can observe isolation among students

  • because they don't know how to reach out to others,

  • or their social skills

  • have fallen so far behind their peer group

  • that they're not able to connect with them.

  • NARRATOR: In a photograph, we see a young boy

  • who is nonverbal and in a wheelchair

  • being introduced to a young girl in his new classroom.

  • The boy's interpreters are positioned

  • on either side of the wheelchair.

  • One uses tactile signing to communicate with the boy,

  • and the other talks to his classmate.

  • So I think the danger of not getting social skills early on

  • is that the gap gets broader, you know.

  • We know that if we have students here,

  • say, at Perkins or at other schools

  • that take a long time to learn something,

  • if we wait until adolescence to try to teach them

  • appropriate social skills and behaviors,

  • they've already lost a big chunk of time.

  • They'll get some skills, they'll be able to succeed,

  • but they've missed a lot of opportunities.

  • NARRATOR: Fade to black.

NARRATOR: A graphic of the Perkins logo

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B1 social narrator wheelchair visually impaired adolescence

Issues in Social Skills & Sex Education (Chapter 2 of 7)

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    Shiau Han Li posted on 2014/02/09
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