Greg Hansen has worked with an occupational therapist for over 20 years, with the last 10 years spent working at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. Greg works with children who have visual and hearing impairments and offers tremendous insight into how the environment can influence how these children function in the community.
Sensory impairments can have a major influence on a child’s development, and the lack of input may have a significant impact on motor and social development. As a result, self-care skills, independent living skills, and building connections with others may become impaired. An OT’s role in working with children with visual or hearing impairments may help facilitate some of the skills needed to be successful in these areas of development.
Location: Fishersville, Virginia, United States
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Notable quotes from the interview:
With regard to a person who would be deaf, learning sign language is always good. Even just a couple of basic signs. I think being in a small town like Staunton, the home of VSDB, there’s a significant Deaf population. So knowing some basics like, “Hello, how are you?” (in ASL) type of signs, sends a really positive message. But I think symbolically, the effort in attempting to sign is a, is a great approach.
I guess with someone, if someone came in into your place of business with a visual impairment, just be very hospitable toward that person, greet that person, try to provide a visual or verbal description rather of this stores layout, what some of your items are, ask, “How can I help you?”
I would first just advise somebody, just, to talk to the student, the kid; just as you would any other kid of that age. Right, find out about them. What are their interests? And then from that conversation, I think you can develop a sense of some of the challenges of being blind or being deaf. I wouldn’t go in and say, ‘Hey! Tell me about how hard it is to be visually impaired?’ But find out about that person. What his or her interests are and then from that conversation; you’ll get a sense of how similar and/or different things might be from their perspective.