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A DIFFERENT FAMILY - HAVING A VISUALLY IMPAIRED CHILD AND THE DEVELOPMENTS IN A FAMILY.txt

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A DIFFERENT FAMILY - HAVING A VISUALLY IMPAIRED CHILD AND THE DEVELOPMENTS IN A FAMILY By: Mrs Eliane Bonamie (Belgium) Orthopedagogue, co-ordinator of the home guidance centre for visually im paired children Co-author: Leen van Belle Social worker at the home guidance centre for visually impaired children Dear audience, My lecture is based on experience and examples in the work of early care in Belg ium. Some of the families are Turkish. I hope that the ideas can offer inspiration to you, wo
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  A DIFFERENT FAMILY - HAVING A VISUALLY IMPAIREDCHILD AND THE DEVELOPMENTS IN A FAMILYBy:Mrs Eliane Bonamie (Belgium)Orthopedagogue, co-ordinator of the home guidance centre for visually impaired childrenCo-author:Leen van BelleSocial worker at the home guidance centre for visually impaired childrenDear audience,My lecture is based on experience and examples in the work of early care in Belgium. Someof the families are Turkish. I hope that the ideas can offer inspiration to you, working in theTurkish society. Each parent, no matter what culture he comes from, will experience and gothrough the process of having a handicapped child in his own individual way. We have torespect this.I hope that during this congress I can get some feedback. Thank you for that.  You can't learn anything to someone, you can only help him to discover it inside himself . Galile  .ABSTRACT.After 20 years of practical experience in early home guidance for visually impaired children,we would like to draw your attention to the family. After all, the child is immersed in thefamily system, and the child and parent-oriented work is continuously influencing each other.During daily guidance, both parents and child are involved so that we can speak about mutualenrichment. From a social and psychological way of thinking, we are formulating some ideasin which we are situating our way of working with the families of visually impaired children.Basic principles are: social, perspectives, deviation from the rule, shared territory, truth andinterpretations of the truth, everything is communication. We want to describe and illustrate astart of using these concepts.1. INTRODUCTIONWe can look at the early home guidance for the visually impaired children from differentpoints of view. We can consider the guidance of the evolution of visually impaired children,but that is not what it is all about. We can also consider the guidance of the family with avisually impaired child. That is what we want to do. We want to describe the basic attitudefrom which the different workers (.) of our service act. This attitude may look  familiar, tohome workers in families with children with a disability of a different kind.(.) The workers of our service have various academic degrees: pediatrist,ortopedagogue, social worker, special educator, therapist. In the article below, we will callthem: 'HOME WORKERS'.2. EARLY HOME GUIDANCE: A SHORT HISTORYThe foundation of the early home guidance centres in Flanders was based on three motives:1. The needs of the visually impaired children;2. The needs of the parents and the whole family;3. The social context: the integration of the impaired child in its natural environment.The first years in the process of growth of a young visually impaired child are of the utmostimportance. The child is in full development and, as a result, its ability to correct andcompensate functional deficiencies is at its best. The parents of a young visually impairedchild will find themselves in a crisis and will have to cope with a number of difficult tasks.They will have to deal with the disability of their child emotionally and they will have to learnhow to handle their child. In addition, they have to get over the attitude and the reactions ofthe environment. They have to adapt themselves to the influence a visually impaired child hason the functioning of their family, on their marriage and on the social functioning of eachparent separately.The first home guidance centres in Flanders started in the seventies as experimental projects.In 1988, the centres were officially recognised by law.3. PEDAGOGICAL FAMILY-ORIENTED MODELThe concept of family guidance is designed for each child separately, and is the result of theneeds and demands of both parents and visually impaired child, linked to what we, as homeworkers, can offer as help.We get our theoretical options from:1. Orthopedagogy and developmental psychology;2. The social and psychological sciences;3. Paramedical and medical insights, in other words, ideas concerning education,development, family and society are a complementary source of inspiration.The abovementioned is the basis from which we let our daily activities grow in the model forfamily guidance. We would like to illustrate some aspects of our journey.4. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE FAMILIES  YOUNG families with a YOUNG visually impaired child.1. The centripetal lifecycleThe lifecycle refers to the phases of development of the family. Dependent on thedevelopmental tasks in the family in a certain period, we speak of alternate centripetal(internally directed) movements.Young families, extending themselves, use a lot of internally directed energy:- In order to take care of and educate young children. The visually impaired child needsmore attention;- Self-evident romance disappears in the relationship with the partner. The visuallyimpaired child sharpens the existing family patterns. The white spots in the parent'srelationship or the delicate balance between family and work can be consideredproblematic again. The relationship between the parents is under high pressure and, as aconsequence of the crisis, the family strengthens the centripetal forces which may causecomplete isolation.2. Every family has its own life structureA life structure refers to the organisation of a family: habits, rituals, the rules of the game, thenotions, role patterns, history. We recognise the single- parent family, the grandparents livingat home, the jumble family, the loose-sand family, the multiproblem family    ; theimportance of the extended family, of the members of the village. the culture of  We inwhich the feeling of being a member of a group is important. Each family tries to find its ownway of integrating the visually impaired child into its organisation. The individual differencesvary greatly.3. They become another kind of family by the arrival of a visually impaired childThe family is burdened with the feeling that it no longer meets the standards as to education,parenthood, being a good family   A different child can create a family of a different kind. Given the setting of a disability in awider social context, the awareness of being the parents of a visually impaired child has far-reaching consequences. The parents are aware of the fact that their educational task, which isalready difficult, may become even more difficult. The existing and self-evident educationalvalues lose their obviousness. The family begins its search for a new identity.4. The visually impaired child brings some areas of tensionBecause of the visually impaired child, the family can end up in a long unexpected crisis, inthe course of which all kinds of states of mind alternate: fear, uncertainly, denial, doubt,rebellion, losing heart, having enough of it. There may also be moments of a new perspective,of satisfaction and delight, of quietness and delight, of quietness and a sense   of well-being.This harmony can all of a sudden turn into disappointment and rebellion.They are all experiences that belong to life. The process of accepting is a road that neverends, and on which one constantly evaluates. It often looks as if you are walking on a roadwhere you find a lot of inconsistencies through which you trie to find reconciliation.Let's have a closer look at some contrasts- Parents have to give their child the opportunity of expressing its feelings. But at the sametime, the parents are living through their own distress and disappointment. It is not easy atall to go into a full consideration of someone else's distress when you are very sadyourself.(Care for the child's emotions    care for the parents' own emotions)- Parents have to take care of their child, but as this child turns out to be a problem child,parents have a lot of questions about its future. It is not easy to take care of someone whileyou are burdened down with worries.(Care for the child    parents' own worries)- Only if the relationship between the parents is a very good one, they will be able to enduretheir troubles together. Living together with a visually impaired child may render therelationship between the parents more difficult. The understanding between both partnerscan become stronger but may also diminish.(a good relationship    stress caused by the disability).- The family finds itself faced with the task of leading a life as normal as possible. Therestrictions caused by the visual disability may result in the constant complication of a lotof aspects of a normal lifestyle.(the wish to lead a normal life    disability causes restrictions)- The parents try to deal with the consequences of the visual disability in an adequatemanner. In some cases, this may require of one or both parents that they introduce changes(mostly restrictions) in their professional situation. On the other hand, the disability caninvolve extra expenses.(restrictions in the professional situation    extra expenses)- Parents are constantly faced with the problem of reconciling the extra attention asked bytheir impaired child and the attention and care needed by their other children.(attention for the impaired child    attention for the other children)Helping, guiding and supporting these families is not an easy task. Moreover, home workersals have to live through and cope with their own emotions while empathising with the child

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