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Maternal reactions, home environment, and the self-esteem of eight visually impaired children Rustige, Cindy L. 1990

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M A T E R N A L R E A C T I O N S , H O M E E N V I R O N M E N T , A N D T H E S E L F - E S T E E M O F E I G H T V I S U A L L Y I M P A I R E D C H I L D R E N by C I N D Y L . R U S T I G E B C S , Mount Saint Vincent Universi ty, 1983 Dip . V . I . , Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1985 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S i n T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A September 1990 © Cindy L . Rustige, 1990 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of E d u c a t i o n a l P s y c h o l o g y & S p e c i a l E d u c a t i o n The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date September 30, 1990. DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT This study investigated the relationship among maternal reactions to visual impairment, home environment, and the self-esteem of eight visually impaired children. Educational research has clearly isolated a correlation between self-esteem, academic performance, and behavior. The premise of this study was that visually impaired children who perceived their home environments as supportive and nurturing; and who had parents, particularly mothers who accepted their loss of vision, would feel better about themselves more so than visually impaired children who held predominantly negative perceptions. The study also compared children's, mothers' and teachers' perceptions of the child's self-esteem. The subjects were 8 visually impaired children between the ages of 5 and 8, their mothers, and their integrating teachers. A questionnaire pertaining to children's self-esteem was circulated to teachers and mothers. Children were interviewed separately. Results indicated that the climate of the home was associated with both the use of functional vision and self-esteem i n visually impaired children. The findings are congruent with educational and humanistic-phenomenological theory, and support the hypothesis that children's behavior and perceptions of themselves are influenced by the reflections of 'significant others', particularly their parents. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i L i s t of Tables v Acknowledgement v i i C H A P T E R O N E : I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 I . The Problem 1 I I . Rationale for the Study 4 I I I . Statement of the Problem 5 I V . Definit ion of Terms 5 C H A P T E R T W O : R E V I E W O F T H E L I T E R A T U R E 10 I . Theoretical Perspectives 10 I I . Self-Concept/Esteem Defined 12 I I I . Antecedents of Self-Esteem and C h i l d - R e a r i n g 14 I V . Adjust ing to V i s u a l Impairment and Bl indness 16 V . Misconceptions and the Development of Self-Esteem 19 V I . Self-Concept and Self-Esteem of V i s u a l l y Impaired C h i l d r e n 21 C H A P T E R T H R E E : M E T H O D O L O G Y A N D R E S E A R C H D E S I G N 23 I . Subjects 23 I I . Procedure 25 III. Instruments 27 C H A P T E R F O U R : C H A P T E R F I V E : R E F E R E N C E S A P P E N D I X A B C D E: i v I V . Rel iabi l i ty and V a l i d i t y 29 V . Da ta Analys i s 31 R E S U L T S 33 I . The Association between Home, Funct ional V i s i o n and Self-Esteem 33 I I . The Association between Materna l Adjustment, Cl imate of the Home, and Self-Esteem 36 I I I . Comparison of Chi ldren 's and Mothers' Perceptions of the Home Envi ronment 45 I V . Comparison of Mothers ' , Teachers' and Children 's Peceptions of Self-Esteem 47 V . Determining the Need for an Esteem B u i l d i n g Programme 58 D I S C U S S I O N A N D C O N C L U S I O N S 60 I . Summary and Conclusions 60 I I . L imi ta t ions 62 I I I . Implications for Fur the r Research 64 65 Children's Interview Schedule 71 Mate rna l Interview-Schedule 76 Teachers' Quest ionnaire 88 Mothers ' Anecdotal Comments 91 Children 's Anecdotal Comments 100 LIST OF TABLES Table Page 1. Demographic Information for Chi ldren 's Sample 24 2. Children's Perceptions of Home Envirnoment 34 3. Frequency Dis t r ibut ion for Children's Perceptions of Home Climate and Self-Esteem Variables 35 4. Rank-Order ing Funct ional Vis ion , Home Cl imate and Self-Esteem Variables 35 5. Spearman Correlat ion Coefficients for Chi ldren 's Home Environment , Funct ional V i s i o n and Self-Esteem Variables 36 6. Mate rna l Reactions to V i s u a l Impairment 38 7. Mate rna l Perceptions of Home Environment 42 8. Frequency Distr ibutions for Maternal .Reactions, Home Environment and Esteem Variables 44 9. Rank-Order ing Mate rna l Reactions, Home Cl imate and Self-Esteem Variables 44 10. Spearman Correlat ion Coefficients for Ma te rna l Reactions, Home Environment, and Self-Esteem Var iab les 44 11. A Contingency Table for Comparing the Degree of Association between Chi ld ren and Mate rna l Perceptions of the Home Environment 45 12. Frequency and Percentages of Children's Self-Perceptions 49 13. Frequency and Percentages of Mate rna l Perceptions of Children's Self-Esteem 52 14. Frequency and Percentages of Teachers' Perceptions of Children's Self-Esteem 55 15. Means for Chi ldren 's , Mothers ' and Teachers' Perceptions of Self-Esteem 56 16. Rank-Order ing Chi ldren 's , Mothers ' and Teachers' Perceptions of Self-Esteem 56 17. Spearman Correlat ion Coefficients for Chi ldren 's , Mothers' and Teachers' Perceptions of Self-Esteem 57 18. A Contingency Table for Children's , Mothers ' and Teachers' Perceptions of self-Esteem 57 19. Frequency Distributions for the Five Self-Esteem Components 59 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I w i s h to extend my sincere appreciat ion to a l l the people who assisted me i n the completion of this manuscript . In part icular , I would l ike to acknowledge the members of my thesis committee, Dr . Sa l ly Rogow, Dr . Haro ld Ratzlaff, and Dr . A r t More for their support; and the parents of my students who so generously shared their time and perceptions wi th me. I am indebted to Dr . Pa t r ic ia Cann ing for the clarity of her vision; to R . J . for her courage and strength of heart; and to J a n and Dave for r emind ing me of the importance of "connectedness ", and for teaching me the art of breathing. Last , but not least, I wish to thank my students, for i t was through their eyes that I learned something of the meaning of humi l i ty and integrity. 1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Of a l l the judgements and perceptions held i n a lifetime, none is as cri t ical as the judgement each of us makes and holds of ourseif. Whether product ive or non-productive l ives are lead; whether relationships are healthy or destructive, a l l hinge on feelings of self-worth. In the opinion of this wri ter , self-esteem is the life force wi th in individuals and behind nations; i t is the under lying key to the success or failure of both. Branden (1969) offered the following explanat ion as to the meaning and importance of self-esteem: "A man's view of himself is necessarily impl ic i t i n a l l his value-responses. A n y judgement entai l ing the issue, 'Is this for or against me?' - entails a view of the 'me' involved. Self-evaluation is an omnipresent factor in m a n s psychology and has profound effects on his th inking processes, emotions, desires, values and goals. It is the single most significant key to his behavior" (p. 109-110). The Problem A chi ld is neither born wi th a sense of self - good, bad or otherwise; nor wi th intact capabilities. Rather a newborn enters the world equipped only wi th the potential to become capable. To a large extent, the sense of self, evolves from environmental circumstances and conditioning. M u c h of the l i terature on self-esteem and parenting validates the parent(s) as being a salient variable i n how children develop and reinforce their sense of self (e.g., Barsch, 1969; Batt le, 1987; Branden, 1983; Briggs, 1967; Coopersmith, 1967a; Cors in i , 1975; Dinkmeyer and M c K a y , 1976; Dreikurs, 1958, 1968, 1972; Glenn and Nelsen, 1989; Har t , 1990; M c K a y and Fanning , 1987; Montagu, 1964; Oaklander , 1978; and Satir, 1972). Branden (1983), Briggs (1967), Ha r t (1990), and Sa t i r (1972) argue that children look to adults for a reflection of who they are, and based on these parental mirrors draw conclusions about their sense of self-worth. In essence, a reflected message becomes a child 's t ruth; an internal ized fundamental belief about what he/she is both capable and deserving of i n life. When treated wi th respect, chi ldren conclude that they are deserving of respect and develop self-respect. L ikewise , when treated wi th esteem, they conclude that they are deserving of esteem and develop self-esteem. The degree to which perceptions differ between the parent and chi ld often colors the quali ty of their relationship, and subsequent relat ionships. For example, i f a ch i ld perceives him/hersel f to be unworthy of positive attention and uncondit ional love, he/she w i l l most l i k e l y feel i l l at ease, i f not suspicious, when i t is offered (Branden, 1983; Briggs, 1967; Hart , 1990; M c K a y and Fanning , 1987). Consequently, most people f ind themselves seeking rela t ionships which reaffirm their expectations of who they are. In many cases the results are disastrous, par t icular ly i f the person has low self-esteem. Bat t le (1982, 1987), Borba (1989), Canfield and Wel ls (1976), and Glenn and Nelsen (1989) contend that many people wi th poor self-esteem become par t of a tragic social m i l i e u of domestic violence, delinquency, substance abuse, and suicide. Branden (1983) states that, "the reputation a person holds of themself - their self-esteem - is the single most important factor for a fulf i l l ing life" (p. 73). Barsch (1969) and Hingsburger (1988) contend that parents are their children's first teachers. F a m i l y rules, communication styles, leadersh ip styles , and fami ly c l imate a l l serve to mold the perceptions of chi ldren (Corsini and Painter , 1975; Dinkmeyer and M c K a y , 1976; and Dreikurs and Cassel, 1972). It is not surprising, therefore, that by the time chi ldren enter school they have a fixed percept ion of the i r own worth; the i r va lue to others and to themselves. It is th is self-perception that c h i l d r e n ho ld of themselves, par t icular ly i f i t negates their value as people, that is of concern to this writer. Al though beliefs and perceptions are generally deeply rooted i n childhood conditioning, i t is the author's contention that adaptation and modification is possible provided change is desirous. Sat i r (1972) argues that since the feeling of self-worth is learned, i t can be unlearned, and something new can always be learned i n its place. Bo th ch i ld ren and parents can be helped to reframe their self-perceptions; the i r shared perceptions; and u l t imate ly their belief systems. As Branden (1983) so eloquently writes, "we always contain w i t h i n ourselves the possibi l i ty of change; we need never be a prisoner of yesterday's choices (p. 56). Given then, that a pr imary source of self-esteem for the young chi ld is grounded i n reflections and how they are treated w i th in the fami ly , i t may be assumed that a handicap such as a v i s u a l impai rment would complicate this process. A. Rationale for the Study As an educator of v isual ly impaired children, the author has been i n a position to observe the interactions of v i sua l ly impai red children and contends that low self-esteem interferes wi th academic achievement, career aspirations, and social interaction. However, i t was not un t i l a Grade One student began to share his perceptions of h imsel f and several other students reported s imi lar reflections, that the author real ized the extent to wh ich these ch i ld ren devalued themselves as people. The most disturbing commonalty was that a l l of the chi ldren felt that their value to others, pa r t i cu la r ly their parents, was negligible. D i s l i k i n g oneself causes enormous pain, and being loved does not necessarily equate wi th feeling loved. As parents and educators we may believe that a ch i ld feels both loved and good about him/herself, but this may be an erroneous assumption. If chi ldren believe that they lack any vol i t ional control over their existence, empowerment is extremely difficult. The question then, is how can parents and teachers work together to ensure that ch i ld ren feel worthy and valuable; and what role does the lack of vis ion play i n the development of self-esteem? 5 B. Statement of the Problem This study examines eight visually impaired children's perceptions of self-worth and the way in which their mothers and teachers perceive the child's self-esteem. The question is, "Is there a difference between mothers' and teachers' perceptions of children's self-esteem, and the feelings of self-worth as reported by eight visually impaired children?" (1) How does the climate of the home environment relate to visually impaired children's use of functional vision and their perceptions of self-esteem? (2) How does maternal adjustment to children's visual impairment and the climate of the home relate to maternal perceptions of the child's self-esteem? (3) How do children's perceptions compare to maternal perceptions on the climate of the home? (4) How do maternal perceptions and teacher perceptions compare to children's perceptions of self-esteem? (5) Is there a need for a curricula-based programme to enhance self-esteem in this sample of eight visually impaired children? C. Definition of Terms The following terms are specific to this thesis and will be defined for clarification. 6 Adjustment to blindness - refers to the maternal level of acceptance toward the loss of vis ion i n their chi ld . Lambert , West and C a r l i n (1981) denned adjustment as the attainment of a context i n which optimal constructiveness is encouraged and the loss of vision is only nominally disquieting. Climate of the home - refers to the degree of positivism i n the home and includes such ideals as: "love wi th no strings attached" (Borba, 1989); clearly defined l imi ts , standards and expectations (Coopersmith, 1967a); and democracy or order wi th l imi ted choice and freedom for a l l family members (Dreikurs and Cassel, 1972). The parent dimension, as coined by Batt le (1982), refers to children's perceptions of their status and treatment wi th in the home; and includes their subjective perceptions of how their parents perceive them (p. 23). Functional Vision - refers to how legally bl ind persons use their residual or remaining vision to maximize visual potential. Funct ional vision is a relative term, and is dependent upon ind iv idua l application. Legal Blindness - a central visual acuity of less than 20/200 i n the better eye wi th correction (glasses), or the fields of vision are so l imited that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees. A visual acuity of 20/200 indicates that what a person wi th normal vision can see at 200 feet, the legally b l ind person can see at 20 feet wi th the same degree of clarity. Legal blindness is a mathematical notation and is not intended to infer functional 7 state. Rather, i t is a descriptive term which designates entitlement to certain monetary benefits provided by the federal government (The Vi sua l l y Impaired Student i n the  Regular Classroom: Resource Book. 1985). Low Vision - refers to individuals whose optimal visual performance is decreased as a result of reduced acuity, abnormal visual field, reduced contrast sensitivity, or other ocular dysfunctions (Faye, 1984, p. 6). Partially Sighted - refers to persons whose visual acuity wi th best correction i n the better eye ranges between 20/70 and 20/200 (Tuttle, 1984). Visual Acuity - the resolution wi th which one sees detail. Specific Eve Conditions (The following definitions have been synopted from the children's functional vision assessment reports and are part of the author's professional repetoire.) Aphakia - absence of the crystalline lens as the result of surgical intervention. Cataract - opacity or clouding of the crystalline lens which impedes the passage of l ight through the eye to the retina. Coloboma - a genetically transmitted condition whereby part of the eye structure (in this case, retina and choroid) is missing due to incomplete embryonic development. Micropthalmos - a congenital abnormality whereby the skeletal (eye socket) and physical (globe) structures of the eye are abnormally small due to incomplete embryonic development. 8 Myopia - or "nearsightedness" refers to a refractive error i n which the physical diameter of the eyeball is too long so that the visual image is focused i n front of, as opposed to on, the re t ina . Optic Nerve Atrophy/Hypoplasia - refers to a congenital abnormality whereby the tissues and fibers of the optic nerve do not undergo full embryonic development. Since damage to the optic nerve interferes wi th the transmission of electrical s t imul i between the eye and brain, the brain misinterprets the visual image received by the eye. Esteem Builders Self-Esteem - refers to the subjective evaluation that children pass on themselves given their "parental mirrors"; and may be expressed as either an approving or disapproving attitude depending upon the extent to which they believe themselves capable and worthy of love (Briggs, 1967; and Borba, 1989). Security - "a feeling of strong assuredness. Involves feeling comfortable and safe; knowing what is expected; being able to depend on individuals and situations; and comprehending rules" (Borba, 1989, p. 45). Self-Hood. - "a feeling of individuali ty. Acquir ing self-knowledge, which includes an accurate and realistic self-description i n terms of roles, attributes and physical characteristics" (Borba, 1989, p. 95). 9 Affiliation - "a feeling of belonging, acceptance or relatedness i n relationships that are considered important. Feel ing approved of, appreciated and respected by others" (Borba, 1989, p. 159). Mission - "a feeling of purpose and motivation i n life. Self-empowerment through setting realistic and achievable goals, and a willingness to assume responsibility for the consequences of one's decisions" (Borba, 1989, p. 217). Competence - "a feeling of success and accomplishment i n things regarded as important or valuable. Aware of strengths and able to accept weaknesses" (Borba, 1989, p. 269). In this chapter, the author has attempted to identify the importance of studying self-esteem. The following chapter provides overviews of the literature on self-esteem, and the impact of famil ial reaction and adjustment to visual impairment and blindness on the development of self-esteem. CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This review of the l i terature w i l l describe self-concept theory; provide definit ional constructs for self-concept and self-esteem; discuss the antecedents of self-esteem and child-rearing; review the process of adjustment; address how commonly he ld misconcept ions about blindness impact the development of self-esteem; and review research on the self-concept and self-esteem of visual ly impaired children. Self-esteem is a topic that has received considerable at tention du r ing the twent ie th century; but as for a un ive r sa l ly recognized definit ion, self-esteem theorists have not reached a consensus. For example, terms such as self-acceptance, self-love, self-respect, self-ideal , self-concept, and self-confidence are used interchangeably, i f not synonymously, w i th in the l i terature. This confusion was recognized a century ago, when i n 1890 W i l l i a m James stated that 'the self as an object' could also be studied by the ind iv idua l , 'self as agent' (cited by Felker , 1974, p. 23). According to Beane, L i p k a and Ludewig (1980) theorists have been unable to decide which is more inf luent ia l , the environment or the individual . Theoretical Perspectives Three m a i n theoretical perspectives have contr ibuted to the l i terature on the development of self concept theory: psychoanalytic theory, behavioral theory, and humanist-phenomenologist theory. The following information was synthesized from reviews of the l i terature (Branden, 1969; Coopersmith, 1967a; E l k i n s , 1977; Felker , 1974; Gurney, 11 1988; Samuels, 1977; and Tuttle, 1984). U p un t i l 1950 and the advent of the humanist ic approach, the concept of the self was closely related to personality and ego development. Psychoanalys ts (e.g. F r e u d , Horney , F r o m m ) advocate that unconscious processes, par t icu lar ly repressed influences of childhood are the p r imary determinants of behavior. The psychoanalytic theory postulates that inner drives such as the Id (impulses) motivate behavior, while the Ego (self) and Superego (conscience) operate to counterbalance the influence of the Id. Hamachek (1971) defined the ego as the inferred self or the nucleus of personali ty compris ing the tenets of decision-making , p lanning, and defense mechanisms. Behavior is t s (e.g. Sk inner , Watson) contend that behavior is motivated by environmental s t imul i , and is controlled by systematic reinforcement. This theory negates the operation of vol i t ional self or in t r ins ic desire/motivation. T h e t h i r d t h e o r e t i c a l p r e m i s e is the H u m a n i s t i c / Phenomenological approach which is especially relevant to this study. U n l i k e the psychoanalysts and the behaviorists, the humanis ts (e.g. Maslow, Rogers, Syngg and Combs) assume that humank ind strives to achieve goals that are conducive to personal g rowth and self-fullfil lment. The central construct of this theory is the concept of self. Phenomenologists ascribe to the ideal that behavior is motivated by the desire to self-actualize (Maslow, 1968); and that the ind iv idua l behaves i n terms of his subjective perception of the world (Battle, 1982). In other words, how each of us views ourselves and what we say about ourselves (implicit or explicit expression) determines how each of us responds to the demands of our environment , which , i n tu rn , influences our 1 2 behavior. Rogers (1951) believed that a l l people strive to make their self concept consistent w i t h their behavior; and that psychological and physiological distress is the result of inconsistency or incongruency between the self and the experience (cited by E lk ins , 1977). Self-Concent and Self-Esteem Defined Self-concept and self-esteem are closely related, but i n the opinion of this author and others (Battle, 1987; Beane, L i p k a and Ludewig , 1980; Borba, 1989; Branden , 1983; Coopersmith, 1967a; Gurney, 1988; and Tuttle, 1984) the two constructs refer to different aspects of the self. Self-concept is generally defined as the overall sense of self or the "me" (Coopersmith, 1967a); is comprised of the ideas, beliefs, attributes, roles, l imitat ions and competencies that a person considers to be true of him/hersel f (Borba, 1989; Branden, 1983; Canf ie ld and Wel l s , 1976; Felker , 1974); and which according to Gurney (1988) is the means by which behavior is defined and categorized. Canfield and Wel ls (1976) posited that "these beliefs and attitudes actually determine who you are; what you th ink you are; what you do; and what you become" (p. 1). Self-esteem pertains to the affective dimension of self- concept. Coopersmith (1967a) defined self-esteem as "the evaluation which the ind iv idua l makes and customarily maintains wi th regard to himself. It expresses an attitude of approval or disapproval and indicates the extent to wh ich the i n d i v i d u a l believes h imse l f to be capable, significant, successful, and worthy" (p. 4-5). Branden (1969) defined self-esteem as "the integrated sum of self-confidence and self-respect. It entails a 1 3 sense of personal efficacy and a sense of personal worth . It is the conviction that one is competent to live and worthy of l iv ing" (p. 110). A l t h o u g h , a un ive r sa l ly recognized def in i t ion of self-esteem remains tenable, Bat t le (1979, p. 23-25) stated that most theorists concurred that self-esteem is: (1) a subjective, evaluative phenomenon - a disposit ion pertaining to a sense of belonging and self-worth; (2) mult i faceted - comprised of in te r re la ted facets i n c l u d i n g general, social, academic and parental dimensions; (3) stable - once established is fairly resistant to change; and (4) gradual development - commences dur ing the first year of life and becomes more stabilized and differentiated wi th age. Self-esteem emerges from self-concept, and i n a sense, one is a prerequisite of the other. According to Tuttle (1987), the perceptions and feelings an ind iv idua l has about their self, whether real is t ic or not, cumulatively mold and shape their self-concept; and threats to the self-concept may alter an individual ' s level of self-esteem. Fo r example, when self-esteem is h igh , chi ldren act i n ways w h i c h support and val ida te the i r self-concept. Conversely, when self-esteem is low, children often misbehave. According to Dreikurs (1958) and Dinkmeyer and M c K a y (1976) a misbehaving or acting-out chi ld is a frustrated and discouraged chi ld . In this sense, chi ldren are no different from adults i n that the prime motivation behind most behavior is to protect feelings concerning the self, that is, one's self-esteem (Briggs, 1967; and Canfield and Wells , 1976). A number of authors (Gurney, 1988; Samuels, 1977; and Tuttle, 1984) contend that the self is influenced by two related concepts: the 1 4 ' ideal self or the picture of the self the indiv idual aspires to be; and the 'other sel f or the picture based on the reflections and evaluations of others (Batt le, 1977; Beane, L i p k a and Ludewig , 1980; Coopersmith , 1967a; and Maslow, 1968). As the 'ideal self of a young chi ld is not fully developed, he/she is forced to make judgements about themself based on the opinions of significant others, namely parents and teachers (Battle, 1987; Beane, L i p k a and Ludewig , 1980; Br iggs , 1967; Coopersmith , 1967a; Gurney, 1988; and Tuttle, 1984 and 1987). Antecedents of Self-Esteem and Child-Rearing Stanley Coopersmith's research on the antecedents or conditions of self-esteem is one of the most widely cited studies i n the field. Coopersmi th (1967a) concluded that four factors contr ibute to the development of self-esteem (p. 37): (a) the amount of respectful, accepting and concerned treatment that one receives from 'significant others' i n his/her life; (b) the history of successes and the person's status i n the communi ty ; (c) the manner i n w h i c h experiences are in te rpre ted and modified i n accord wi th the individual ' s values and aspirations; and (d) the individual 's response to devaluation. A number of interesting trends and issues have emerged from the l i tera ture on the relat ionship between home environment and self-esteem. CI ernes and Beane (1981) posited that the following attitudes mus t exist i n order for h igh self-esteem to occur: a sense of 1 5 connectedness; a sense of uniqueness; a sense of power; and appropriate role models (cited by Borba, 1989). Samuels (1977) suggested that high self-esteem i s the resu l t of w a r m p a r e n t a l love , suppor t ive encouragement, consistency, rea l i s t ic expectations, and a balance between protectiveness and reward rather than punishment (p. 91). B a u m r i n d (1967) concluded that the most competent and mature preschool c h i l d r e n were those c h i l d r e n who had f i r m , l o v i n g , demanding, and understanding parents; and i n a seven year follow-up study of 159 children, Sears (1970) noted that children who had h igh self-concept at age twelve were those chi ldren who had reported parental warmth at age five (cited by Samuels, 1977). Coopersmi th (1967a) ident i f ied four fami ly condit ions wh ich promote h igh self-esteem i n children: 1) full acceptance of the chi ld by the parent; 2) clearly defined and enforced l imi t s ; 3) respect and la t i tude for the ch i ld as a person, and d i rec t ly re la ted to these conditions; 4) the self-esteem of the parent(s). He cautioned, however, that acceptance, defined l imi ts , respect, and parental self-esteem are not mutual ly exclusive; and that there are v i r tua l ly no parental patterns of behavior or attitudes common to a l l parents of children wi th h igh self-esteem. Symonds (1939) found that parents treated their chi ldren as they themselves had been treated by thei r same sex parent; and that accepting parents were more l ike ly to have had accepting and wel l -adjusted parents (cited by Samuels, 1977). In a la ter study, Barsch (1969) found a genera t ional r e l a t i onsh ip between c h i l d - r e a r i n g practices, that is, many parents of today raise their chi ldren as they themselves were raised. 1 6 Schwartz (1966) found that chi ldren who had h igh self-concept had affectionate mothers (cited by Samuels, 1977); while Coopersmith (1967a) reported that mothers of children wi th high self-esteem praised, rewarded and supported the i r ch i ld ren more so t han mothers of ch i ld ren w i t h low self-esteem. Coopersmi th also contended that materna l expressions of affection and closeness are not necessari ly viewed as such by children; and that acceptance, l ike love, is not always enough to influence self-esteem. He concluded that chi ldren w i t h h igh self-esteem are more l i ke ly to perceive their parents favorably, even when pun ished , because they believe the i r parents ' act ions are justifiable and not intended as mistreatment. Adjusting to Visual Impairment and Blindness W h e n v i s u a l impa i rmen t occurs the entire f ami ly becomes involved i n an adaptive struggle to regain equ i l ib r ium (Barton, 1984; Ce ru l l i and Shugerman, 1961; Cohen, 1964; Gardner, 1982; and Moore, 1984); and dur ing this period of adjustment many relat ionships are impacted (Ault , 1978; Emerson, 1981; and Tutt le , 1984). A number of authors have supported this connection between family react ion to blindness and the subsequent adjustment of the v i s u a l l y impa i red person (e.g., A u l t , 1978; Bar ton , 1984; C e r u l l i and Shugerman, 1961; Cobb, 1972; Cohen, 1964; Emerson, 1981; Gardner, 1982; Imamura, 1965; Kolb , 1973; Lambert and West, 1980; Mayadas and Duehn, 1976; Moore, 1984; Wi l l i s , 1979; Winton, 1970; and Workman, 1972). Cook-Clamper t (1981) asserted that "the parents ' emotional reactions to the infant's v i sua l impai rment may interfere w i t h their 1 7 r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i m , espec ia l ly when feel ings of gu i l t , self-recr iminat ion, and anxiety overwhelm them" (p. 235). Endress (1968) i s o l a t e d a r e l a t i o n s h i p be tween m a t e r n a l a t t i t udes a n d the developmental level of b l ind preschoolers (cited by War ren , 1984). Imamura (1965) reported that the mothers of b l i n d ch i ldren ignored requests for at tention or assistance more often than d id mothers of sighted children. Ta i t (1972) stated that mothers of v isua l ly impaired chi ldren are faced wi th a twofold di lemma: prepar ing their chi ld for independence while feeling that independence is either an unattainable goal, or at the very least, subs tant ia l ly more diff icult ; and being uncertain as to how to teach independence. Moore (1984) summarized li terature on rehabil i tat ion and concluded that successful adjustment is associated w i t h family support, the absence of family problems, and positive parental attitudes. Sommers (1944) identified five categories of parental reactions and at t i tudes toward bl indness: (1) genuine, rea l i s t ic and objective acceptance; (2) denial or failure to admit the existence or importance of the handicap; (3) over-protection; (4) disguised rejection; (5) overt rejection (cited by Warren, 1984, p. 38). Sommers' results revealed high correlat ions between parenta l a t t i tudes and the chi ld ' s leve l of adjustment (.806); and between parenta l overindulgence and over-protectiveness and poor adjustment. She concluded that the majority of social attitudes affecting the adjustment of v i sua l ly impa i red chi ldren are funneled through parents; and that maladjustment stems from social attitudes rather than from causes inherent i n blindness (cited by Gardner, 1982; Kir t ley , 1975; and Lowenfeld, 1956). 1 8 Eisenstadt (1955) believed that parental adjustment to blindness was more dynamic than Sommers had delineated, and that adjustment consisted of four stages (cited by Tutt le , 1984, p. 256): (1) shock and grief, dur ing which there is a feeling of intense loss, sorrow, disbelief; (2) bewilderment and helplessness; (3) fear, result ing from incomplete and/or ambiguous information provided by well-meaning people and the medical profession; and (4) tension, resul t ing from anxiety regarding the child's future. Tut t le (1984) postulated that adjustment to blindness is more sequential than hierarchical; that the adjustment process is influenced by pr ior coping experiences, prior attitudes toward blindness, age of onset, degree and stabil i ty of vis ion, support of significant others, and the avai labi l i ty of professional services; and that adjustment is neither fixed nor f ina l . Tut t le contends that each time an un fami l i a r or unresolved s i tuat ion is encountered, one or a l l of the phases w i l l be reworked . H e provided the fo l lowing theore t ica l f ramework for adjusting to blindness (p. 159-238): (1) physical or social t rauma -"What hi t me?"; (2) shock and denial - "This can't be happening!"; (3) m o u r n i n g and w i thd rawa l - "Poor me/No one understands!"; (4) succumbing and depression - "I Can't!"; (5) reassessment and reaffirmation - "Life is s t i l l worth l iving!"; (6) coping and mobil izat ion -"I Can!"; and (7) self-acceptance and self-esteem - "I l i ke me/I am somebody!". There is no personality unique to b l ind persons, and personality t rai ts and patterns of adjustment are as var ied among the v i sua l ly impa i red as among the sighted (Ki r t l ey , 1975; Lowenfeld, 1956; and Tu t t l e , 1984). However , v i s u a l l y impa i r ed people often have an 1 9 exceedingly difficult time establishing a stabilized concept of themselves given that they are perceived as being "sighted" on some occasions, and "blind" i n other situations (Davis, 1964; and Tuttle, 1984). Misconceptions and the Development of Self-Esteem Cons ide rab le research i n the f i e ld of v i s u a l i m p a i r m e n t documents that both sighted and visual ly impaired people hold typically negative and stereotypical attitudes toward blindness. The following beliefs have been synthesized from a review of the li terature (Ault , 1978; Ki r t l ey , 1975; Lowenfeld, 1956; Lukoff, 1972a; Monbeck, 1973; Needham and Ehmer , 1980; Tuttle, 1984; Vickers , 1987; Wilson , 1982; and Zur i ta , 1982): 1. an individual 's personal worth is dependent upon his/her physical adequacy; 2. bl ind people are either supernaturally endowed/gifted or defective/maladjusted; 3. only the b l ind can understand the b l ind (homogeneity of the b l ind population; 4. happiness is dependent upon the extent to which useable or remaining vision is retained; 5. blindness is a legitimate excuse for avoiding personal responsibility (blind persons are to be tolerated, indulged or excused); 6. blindness can be cured through scientific discovery or prosthetic devices; 2 0 7. b l ind people require extra protection and cannot achieve even the most min imal level of independence; 8. b l ind people are unemployable; 9. b l ind people are consumed wi th envy to be sighted; 10. blindness is punishment for sexual transgression by either the parents or bl ind person. The aforementioned statements are en t i re ly unfounded, and given that they invoke value judgements which are l i m i t i n g or self-destructive (Needham and Ehmer , 1980), they have a depressing effect on the self-esteem of visual ly impaired chi ldren, especially when such attitudes are held by parents and teachers (Tuttle, 1984 and 1987). Wi l son (1982) argued that the perpetuation of such myths by society yields untold humil ia t ion, alienation, and misery. Mayadas and Duehn (1976) conducted a follow-up study on the synch ron i c i t y or congruence between the role expectat ions of ' s ignif icant others' and b l i n d adolescents. They concluded that synchrony was found between social performance and (1) the expectations of significant others, (2) the subjects' perception of the expectat ions of s ignif icant others, and (3) the subjects' self-expectations. They reported asynchrony between the subjects' behavior and the expectations of people who were unfami l ia r to blindness and v i s u a l impa i rment . These results s t rongly support the notion of congruence between role expectations, both of the ch i ld and of those close to him/her, and actual behavior. In addi t ion to societal misconceptions, Tut t le (1984) concluded that v i sua l ly impai red children's tendency toward social immatur i ty , i sola t ion and wi thdrawal , and passive dependency, severely impede 21 their na tura l inc l ina t ion toward self-sufficiency and autonomy. Tutt le (1987, p. 157) argued that the sociological consequences of blindness s igni f icant ly impact social in teract ion, and that v i s u a l l y impa i r ed chi ldren must resolve four major dilemmas: 1. they must develop good coping skil ls and adpative behaviors i n order to feel competent and adequate; 2. they must mainta in a sense of h igh self-esteem i n the face of predominantly negative reflections; 3. they must establish the abil i ty to make and execute their own choices/decisions; 4. they must resolve that they w i l l remain dependent on other people for certain things and, w i l l consequently appear to lack motivation. Self-Concept and Self-Esteem of Vital ly Impaired Children Several studies compare the self-concept of v i s u a l l y impa i red chi ldren to a sighted control group, but results tend toward either excessively h igh or low rating-scales, or no overall difference between the two groups (Zunich and Ledwith , 1965). Meighan (1971) used the Tennesse Self-Concept Scale (TSCS) wi th visual ly impaired students i n two residential secondary schools, and reported significantly low scores on a l l subscales (cited by Cook-Clampert , 1981; and Warren, 1984). Head (1979) used the T S C S but was unable to replicate the negative direction found i n the Meighan study; results indicate that class placement and visual impairment did not affect the strength of the subjects' self-concept (cited by Cook-Clampert , 1981; and Tuttle, 1984). Cook-Clamper t (1981), Tu t t l e (1984), and W a r r e n (1984) a l l concluded that research on self-concept and self-esteem is less than sa t i s fy ing because of methodological flaws or l ack of support ive evidence. In fact, Warren (1984) questionned the logistics or functional appl ica t ion of s tudying whether self-concept is h igher or lower i n v isua l ly impaired or sighted children. T h i s chapter rev iewed l i t e r a tu re specific to the p rob lem statements of this study. The following chapter w i l l provide a detailed description of the subjects, procedures followed, and the data collection and tabulat ion instruments used. Chapter Three 2 3 Methodology and Research Design Thi s chapter discusses the research study, the informat ion sought, and the methodology employed. The present study was undertaken to investigate the following research questions: (1) How does the climate of the home environment relate to visual ly impaired children's use of functional vision and their perceptions of self-esteem? (2) How does maternal adjustment to children's v isual impairment and the climate of the home relate to maternal perceptions of the child's self-esteem? (3) How do children's perceptions compare to maternal perceptions on the climate of the home? (4) How do maternal perceptions and teacher perceptions compare to children's perceptions of self-esteem? (5) Is there a need for a curricula-based programme to enhance self-esteem i n this sample of eight visual ly impai red children? Subjects The sample consisted of 8 visual ly impaired chi ldren enrolled i n a publ ic school system of B r i t i s h Columbia , their mothers, and their integrating teachers. The sample of children was selected on the basis of age/grade, and their par t ic ipat ion i n a sma l l peer-social group 2 4 provided by the author and a colleague w i t h i n the school dis tr ic t i n which the children reside. Paren ta l consent for par t ic ipat ion i n the study determined the sample, that is , the combined involvement of the ch i ld , mother and integrating teacher. Of the 9 families contacted, 8 agreed to participate; as did the 8 integrating teachers. O f the 8 children, 3 were female and 5 were male. The age range was from 5 years 10 months to 8 years 9 months, wi th a mean age of 7 years 2 months. A l l attended regular classes i n grades Kindergar ten through 2; wi th 3 assigned in-class aide time. Six of the 8 were legally b l ind and a l l 8 used their res idual v is ion as their p r imary lea rn ing modality. S ix of the visual impairments were diagnosed wi th in the first year of life, while 2 were diagnosed dur ing the second year. Six of the subjects were from two-parent famil ies , of which , one was legal ly adopted and one was a foster chi ld; 2 subjects were from one-parent (mother) families. None of the subjects were only chi ldren. Table 1 shows the demographic distr ibution of the sample. Table 1: Demographic Information for Children's Sample Subject Sex Grade Age Vis.Impairment Onset Birth Order Family Unit 1 m k 5.10 cataracts, aphakia 9 mos. 2nd (last) one-parent 2 f k LB; SP 6.7 optic atrophy aide LB; SP 2 yrs 3rd (last) foster two-parent 3 f 1 6.8 cataracts, aphakia 6 mos 2nd (mid) LB; SP two-parent adopted 4 m 1 6.9 colobomas 5 mos 2nd (mid) two-parent LB; SP 2 5 Table 1: (Con't) Subject Sex Grade Age Vis.Impairment Onset Birth Order Family Unit 5 m 1 7.9 high myopia aide PS; SP 6 f 2 7.6 micropthalmos PS; SP 7 m 2 7.7 hypoplasia aide LB; LP/braille 8 m 2 8.9 optic atrophy birth 2nd(last) one-parent 1 yr. 5th (last) two-parent 6 mos. first 15 mos first two-parent two-parent * LB = legally blind PS = partially sighted SP = standard print LP = large print Educat ional levels for mothers ranged from completion of Grade 10 to some college, wi th the majority (6) being highschool graduates. Four mothers were at home, while 4 worked outside the home on a full-time basis. Occupations represented were store owner-operator, clerical personnel and bartender. The 8 teachers were female, and a l l had no less than 10 years teaching experience. Procedure The 9 families of the children part icipating i n the peer group were contacted by telephone. The rationale for the study was explained and mothers were asked for provis ional consent for par t ic ipa t ion . One fami ly decl ined both the i r involvement and tha t of the i r ch i ld . Arrangements to conduct the interview were made 2 weeks later. The interview-schedule was piloted wi th the mother of a v isual ly impa i red ch i ld not involved i n the study, a teacher for the v i sua l ly impa i r ed , and a professional colleague outside the f ie ld of v i sua l impai rment and blindness. These individuals were asked to comment on content, i t e m s t ructure , vocabulary , and ambigu i ty ; and the instrument was revised accordingly. M a t e r n a l interview-schedules were conducted i n the home. The purpose of the study was again reiterated w i t h an overview of the interview-schedule and procedures. Subjects were provided a copy of the interview-schedule but a l l responses were recorded, that is , wr i t t en verbatim by the researcher. The length of the interview was open-ended depending upon the 'involvement' of the mother, and ranged from two to three hours. Subjects were provided an opportunity to ask questions and were informed that a copy of the results and conclusions would be made available to them. Ch i ld r en ' s interview-schedules were conducted w i t h i n the i r community or home school. The setting(s) was famil iar to each subject as the area(s) i n wh ich they worked w i t h the author du r ing their regular ly scheduled sessions. A rationale for both the study and the subject's direct involvement was provided. The questions were read to the chi ldren and responses were recorded verbat im by the researcher. Th i s was done to counter the l imi ted reading abi l i ty of some of the younger ch i ld ren , as we l l as account for reduced v i s u a l acui ty . Ch i ld ren were instructed to think carefully about their answers prior to responding. They were further informed that there were no r ight or wrong answers, and that truthful responses would not get them into trouble. Defini t ional terms appearing unfamil iar to the chi ldren were 2 7 verba l ly explained. For example, 'ignore' and 'scold'. The average interview lasted 35 minutes, although a time l imi t was not set. A copy of the questionnaire was provided to teachers w i t h a brief verbal description of rationale. A l l eight questionnaires were returned to the investigator wi th in a week of distribution. Instruments The children's interview-schedule (Appendix A) evolved from the l i terature review, and was adapted from the Coopersmith (1967b) Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI), the Piers-Harr is (1983) Children's Self-Concept Scale, and the Borba (1989) Self-Esteem Ta l ly (B-SET) . The interview-schedule consisted of 65 questions; 61 of which required a true or false type response; while the remaining four items were open-ended. Th i r t y -five items were considered to be positive whi le 26 were considered negative. Al though not specifically delineated, 20 questions pertained to home environment. One point was given for each response indicative of positive home environment and high self-esteem. Scores on the home environment inventory ranged from 0 to 20 and scores on the self-esteem inventory ranged from 0 to 41. A functional vision assessment was completed for a l l 8 chi ldren w i t h i n the last 20 months, and a l l ophthalmological reports were current for the 1989-90 school year. Func t iona l v i s ion was assessed us ing the Stoel t ing Funct ional V i s i o n Assessment Tool ( V F A T ) . The V F A T is based on observation and functional application of useful vision w i t h i n the context of the subjects' envi ronments . F o r example, observations of functional vis ion were made i n school (classroom and playground), at home, and enroute to/from school (where applicable). 2 8 Funct ional v is ion was rank-ordered from most v i sua l ly efficient to least visual ly efficient for the 8 children i n the study. The maternal interview-schedule (Appendix B) was developed by the author who i n the role of an i t inerant teacher collaborates and consults w i th parents. The interview-schedule consisted of five sections: Section I - Demographics; Section II - V i s u a l Impairment; Section III -M a t e r n a l React ions to V i s u a l Impa i rment ; Sec t ion I V - Home Environment ; Section V - Self-Esteem of the V i s u a l l y Impaired C h i l d . Item format consisted of both forced-response and open-ended response questions. Open-ended items were included to allow subjects increased freedom of response. Four-point L iker t - type ra t ing scales r ang ing on a cont inuum from 'strongly agree to strongly disagree'; and from 'always to never', were used as the forced-response format i n Sections III, IV and V . Items were scored from 0 (strongly disagree; never) to 3 (strongly agree; always), so 3 points indicated a more favorable or positive response to a statement. A n overall score was obtained by to ta l l ing the ratings i n each section. The higher the score i n each of the sections of maternal reactions, home environment and self-esteem; the more positive the adjustment, the home environment, and the self-esteem of the visual ly impai red chi ld . The teachers' questionnaire (Appendix C) was modelled after Coopersmith and Gilber t ' s (1979) Behav io ra l Academic Self-Esteem (BASE) Rat ing Scale; and Borba's (1989) Self-Esteem Tal ly (B-SET) . Item content and format were identical to Section V (Self-Esteem of the Child) of the maternal interview-schedule. Based on Borba's hierarchy of self-2 9 esteem, i tems 1-5 correspond to Securi ty; 6-10 to Selfhood; 11-17 to Affi l iat ion; 18-23 to Miss ion; and 24-31 to Competence. The interview-schedule was preferred over the quest ionnaire format for the chi ldren and their mothers because of the degree of investigator-subject famil iar i ty , and because of the smal l sample size. The questionnaire format was chosen for the teachers given that i t was less time consuming to complete. Reliability and Validity of Self-Rating Scales Mangold (1980) asserted that as no evidence exists to support the contention that the lack of vision has a universal effect upon children, the methods and techniques used to study and enhance high self-esteem i n sighted children are equally applicable to visual ly impaired children. G iven then, that the factors influencing the development of self-esteem appear to be ident ica l for a l l ch i ldren , regardless of handicap, the chi ldren 's self-esteem in terv iew- schedule was model led after the C o o p e r s m i t h Se l f -Es teem Inventory (SEI) and the P i e r s - H a r r i s Chi ldren 's Self-Concept Scale. Coopersmith (1967a) reported a rel iabi l i ty correlation coefficient of .88 on a test-retest obtained from 30 fifth-grade pupils after a five-week in te rva l , and another .70 from 56 chi ldren over a three-year in terva l (cited by Gurney, 1988, p. 36). The Piers -Harr i s manual cites evidence for re l iabi l i ty w i th coefficients ranging from .78 to .93. U s i n g a sample of 244 fifth graders, Wing (1966) secured a test-retest correlation of .77 over a two and four-month period (cited by Gurney, 1988, p. 37). 3 0 Construct va l id i ty has been supported by a mul t i tude of studies w h i c h conf i rm the expected empi r i ca l r e la t ionsh ip between self-esteem/concept and anxiety (Coker, 1979, cited by Cook-Clampert , 1981); academic achievement (Brady, Figuerres, Fe lke r and Gar r i son , 1978; Fe lke r and Stanwyck, 1971; and Morse, 1984); reading achievement (Wal lenberg and Cl i f fo rd , 1964); and locus of control ( L a n d and Vineberg, 1965, cited by Warren, 1984, p. 254). Since the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI) and the Piers-Har r i s are intended for use wi th children between 8 and 16 years of age, and this sample was between 5 and 8 years, certain items were either re-writ ten for clarification or omitted from the scale. Fo r example, "I have a pleasant face" was simplified to "I am good looking"; "I have a good figure" was omitted given the lack of appl icabi l i ty to seven-year-olds. Personal ly meaningful statements were used whi le ambiguous items were discarded. Fo l lowing the pilot-test, a true/false response replaced the yes/no response used i n the P ie r s -Har r i s . A s we l l , since the S E I and the P ie r s -Har r i s are multifaceted scales a l l i tems were categorically arranged to reflect the five esteem bui ld ing components of security, self-hood/concept, aff i l ia t ion, miss ion , and competence as delineated by the Borba Self-Esteem Tally (B-SET). The B - S E T was designed to assess observed behavior and is not a measure of self-esteem. Rather, i t is a diagnostic-prescriptive tool to assist educators i n de termining which of the five esteem bu i ld ing categories requires intervention strategies (Borba, 1989). A technical manua l for B - S E T is currently being field-tested. Bo th the teacher's questionnaire and the self-esteem section of the maternal 31 interview-schedule were based on the B - S E T and Coopersmi th and Gilbert 's (1979) Behavioral Academic Self-Esteem ( B A S E ) Ra t ing Scale. Data Analysis The raw data collected from the interview-schedules and the questionnaire were recorded and tabulated. As the variables being studied represented ordinal-level scaling; at best quasi- interval , non-parametric analyses were used where appropriate. E a c h of the five problem statements were analyzed separately. Descr ip t ive statistics were computed from children 's , mothers ' and teachers' responses; and the data were arranged i n cross- tabular fashion to indicate the frequencies and percentages of responses. The va r i ab les were r ank-orde red by categories, a n d the relat ionship among the variables was correlated us ing the Spearman R a n k Order Corre la t ion Coefficient. The cr i t i ca l value for "r" was determined at the .05 level of statistical significance. Contingency tables were constructed to determine the degree of associat ion between children's perceptions of their home environment and the perceptions of the i r mothers; and to compare chi ldren 's , mothers ' and teachers' perceptions of self-esteem. A chi-square analysis was conducted on each statement, w i t h s t a t i s t i ca l s ignif icance es tab l i shed by the researcher at the .05 level. A s "opinion" was difficult to s ta t is t ica l ly measure or analyze, where applicable, the informat ion generated from the open-ended questions was summarized i n text or included i n the appendices under anecdotal reporting. This chapter provided an overview of methodological design (sample, procedures and instrumentation) and briefly touched on the s ta t is t ica l procedures used i n the analysis of data. The fol lowing chapter w i l l detail the results or the products of the data analysis. 33 CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS This chapter w i l l indicate the results or the products of the data analysis on the eight chi ldren, their mothers and their teachers. The data suggests an association between cl imate of the home and self-esteem. Problem Statement 1: How does the climate of the home relate to v isual ly impaired children's use of functional vis ion and their perceptions of self-esteem? Twenty items (Table 2) applied to this research question. To facilitate the statistical analysis of children's responses, the categories of true and false were collapsed into the respective categories of agree/disagree. Twelve of these items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the respondents choosing 'agree' rather than 'disagree'. A l l respondents (8 or 100%) 'agreed' that: i) home was a caring place ii) they enjoyed spending time wi th their families i i i ) they l iked l iv ing i n their family. Seven of eight or 87.5% chose 'agree' for the i tem 'my parents love me no matter what I do'; and 6 or 75% chose 'agree' for the i tem I l ike my brothers/sisters ' . Seven i tems scored 5 of 8 or 62.5% of the respondents 'agreed' that: i) their parent(s) listened to their feelings ii) their parents understood them ii i ) they had a lot of fun wi th their parent(s) iv) they were not picked on at home v) they were an important member of their family vi) their parent(s) treated them fairly vii) their parent(s) had time for them. Six of the 20 items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the respondents choosing 'disagree' r a ther 'agree'. A l l respondents (8 or 100%) 'disagreed' that: i) they were treated the same as their siblings ii) the things their parents asked of them were fair. S ix of eight or 75% 'disagreed' that: i) they were not scolded a lot at home ii) punishment was fair i i i ) they were allowed to help out at home. F ive of three or 62.5% chose 'disagree' for the i t em 'there are many times I would l ike to run away from home'. Two items were evenly split and resulted i n 4 of 8 or 50% of the respondents choosing agree' while the other 50% chose 'disagree'. The items were: i) I feel unnoticed (ignored) at home ii) my parent(s) keep their promises to me. Table 2 shows how children perceive their home environments. TaMe ft Children's Perceptions of Climate of the Home Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 51. home is a caring place 8 (100%) 0 (.--) 54. I l ike spending time wi th my family 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 61. I l ike l i v ing i n my family 8(100) 0 (--) 60. my parents love me no matter what 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 45. I l ike my brothers/sisters 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 4. my parents l isten to my feelings 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 11. my parents understand me 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 15. my parents and I have fun together 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 29. I am not picked on at home 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 3 5 Table 2: Children's Perception*? Climate of the Home Item A G E E E D I S A G R E E 42. I am an important member of my family 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 56. my parents treat me fairly at home 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 59. my parents have time for me 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 18. I feel unnoticed (ignored) at home 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 53. my parents keep their promises to me 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 14. many times I would l ike to run away 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 22. my parents scold me a lot 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 52. when I am punished i t is fair 2 (25.0) 6(75.0) 58. I am allowed to help out at home 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 7. parental requests of me are fair 0 ( - - ) 8 (100) 57. I am treated the same as mv siblings 0 (--) 8 (100) The average score (X) for the climate of the home was 11.5. The average score for the self-esteem variable was 21.88. Table 3 shows the frequency dis t r ibut ion of the climate of the home and of self-esteem; Table 4 shows the rank-ordering of these variables. Table 3: Frequency Distribution for Children's Ppmpptions of Home Climate and Self-Esteem Variables Subjects: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 M S * X Home Climate: 15 5 3 17 16 16 5 15 (20) 11.50 Self-Esteem: 29 16 6 28 34 27 16 19 (41) 21.88 Total : 44 21 9 45 50 43 21 34 (61) * M S = max imum score Table 4: Rank-Or^ring Children bv Functional Vision. Climate of the Home and Self-Esteem Variables Subjects Functional Vis ion Home Climate Self-Esteem 1 5 2.5 1 2 3 4.5 5 3 4 4.5 2 4 6 6.5 6.5 5 2 2.5 4 6 1 1 3 7 8 8 8 8 7 6.5 6.5 Note. H i g h rank (i.e., low number) indicates most efficient use of funct ional v i s ion , pos i t ive /nur tu r ing home environment , and high self-esteem. 3 6 There was a significant (p <.05) positive bivar ia te correlat ion between the c l imate of the chi ldren ' s home env i ronments and functional v is ion; and home climate and self-esteem. A correlat ion coefficient (r) of .89 and .82 respectively, suggested that the climate of the home was associated wi th the use of functional vis ion and self-esteem i n v i sua l l y i m p a i r e d chi ldren. No signif icant re la t ionship was found between self-esteem and functional v i s ion . Table 5 compares the association between the climate of the home, functional vision, and self-esteem. Table 5: Spearman Correlation Coefficient for Children's Home Environment. Functional Vision, and Self -Esteem Variables Home Climate Functional Vis ion Self-Esteem Home Cl imate 1.00 .89 .82 Func t iona l V i s i o n 89* 1.00 .61 Self-Esteem 82*. .61 1.00 *r= .707 ,p<.05 Problem Statement 2: How does maternal adjustment to children's v isual impairment and the climate of the home relate to maternal perceptions of children's self-esteem? To facil i tate the stat is t ical analysis of mate rna l reactions to blindness and visual impairment, the categories of agree/strongly agree and disagree/strongly disagree were collapsed into the respective categories of agree/disagree. O f 24 items, 11 applied to blindness i n general and 13 were specific to the impact of the v i sua l impairment on the family (Table 6). Under the category of general blindness, eight i tems resulted i n 75% or more of the respondents choosing 'agree' rather than 'disagree'. A l l respondents (8 or 100%) 'agreed' that: i) blindness was not punishment for moral s in i i) b l ind people were not intellectually inferior i i i ) b l ind people were more s imilar to, than different from, sighted iv) blindness was not a legitimate reason for avoiding personal responsibili ty v) adjustment to blindness was a fluid and changing process throughout life. Seven of eight or 87.5% 'agreed' that b l ind people could be as independent as sighted; and that 'acceptance of a v i sua l impai rment was the same as accepting any other k ind of a handicap'. Six of eight or 75% of the respondents 'agreed' that 'happiness was not dependent upon the amount of remaining sight a person retains'. Three of the 11 items resulted i n 75% or more of the respondents choosing 'disagree' rather than 'agree'. A l l 8 respondents 'disagreed' w i t h the statement 'bl ind people do not require addi t ional protection'. Seven of eight (87.5%) 'disagreed' that 'there were other sensory losses greater than that of the deprivat ion of sight'. Seventy-five percent 'disagreed' that 'blind people do not have supernatural abilities' . In the section specific to the impact of the v i sua l impairment on the family, three items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the respondents choosing 'agree' rather than 'disagree'. Seventy-five percent of the respondents 'agreed' tha t they 'felt de tachment or a sense of unreal i ty /disbel ief at the time of diagnosis. F ive of eight or 62.5% 'agreed' that they 'felt angry and resentful toward the diagnosing 3 8 ophthalmologist ' ; and 'felt embarrassed and/or frustrated by publ ic ignorance to v isua l impairment ' . Seven of 13 items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the respondents choosing 'disagree' ra ther than 'agree'. Seven of eight (87.5%) respondents 'disagreed' that they 'felt any anger toward their v i sua l ly impa i r ed ch i ld ' or God' . Fou r i tems scored 6 of 8 or 75% of the respondents 'disagreed' that they: i) felt guil ty or responsible for the visual impairment i i) felt angry or resentful of their spouses i i i ) questionned or doubted their abili ty to cope as parents iv) resented the impact the visual impairment would have on their personal aspirations. Three items were evenly split and resulted i n 4 of 8 or 50% of the respondents choosing 'agree' while the other 50% chose 'disagree'. The items were: i) questionned whether the worthwhile goals i n life would be denied their child ii) felt isolated and lonely i i i ) experienced despair, disinterest and discouragement. Table 6 shows maternal reactions to blindness and visual impairment . Table 6: Maternal Reactions to Blindness Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 18. blindness not punishment for s in 8 (100%) 0 (----) 19. b l ind not intellectually inferior 8(100) 0 (----) 21. more s imi lar than different 8(100) 0 (----) 23. not excuse for not trying 8(100) 0 (~~) 27. adjustment is f luid process 8(100) 0 (----) 24. can be equally independent 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 26. acceptance same as for any handicap 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 22. happiness is independent of vision 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 3 9 Table 6: Maternal Reactions to Blindness Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 20. do not have supernatural abilities 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 17. other worse sensory losses 1 (12.5) 7 (87.5) 25. extra protection not required 0 ( - - ) 8 (100) 30. felt detached, sense of unreality 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 32. angry at ophthalmologist 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 37. embarrassed by public reaction 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 33. grieved child's loss of worthy goals 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 35. felt isolated and lonely 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 36. experienced despair, disinterest 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 31. questionned ability to cope 3 (37.5) 5(62.5) 32. felt angry toward:self 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) spouse 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) parents of sighted 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 34. resented impact on my life 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 32. felt angry towardxhi ld 1 (12.5) 7 (87.5) God 1 (12.5) 7 (87.5) Note. Items 30 through 37 pertain specifically to the child's visual i m p a i r m e n t . Addi t ional analysis of information not included i n Table Seventy-five percent of the mothers cited extreme frustration and anger toward the medical profession; 50% of these respondents had real ized that something was wrong wi th their children's v is ion , but were unsuccessful i n their bid to convince the medica l profession. Consequently, 4 of the 8 v i sua l impai rments were misdiagnosed as either "nothing to worry about" or as v i ra l infections. In a l l eight cases, the v i sua l impa i rment was not compounded further by phys ica l or sensory loss; and aside from one chi ld who was hospi tal ized 4 times dur ing the first 2 years of life, nothing more than the typical childhood illnesses prevailed. In terms of support services, 87.5% of the mothers were satisfied w i t h the level of support provided at the t ime of diagnosis; and 100% cited extreme satisfaction wi th the level of support provided by the school 4 0 district . Almos t one-third (62.5%) voiced dissatisfaction wi th the level and/or accessibility of support dur ing the preschool years. Six of eight or 75% of the respondents had no pr ior experience w i t h v i s u a l l y impai red or b l ind persons prior to the b i r th of their chi ld . (Addit ional anecdotal comments regarding maternal reaction and adjustment to v i sua l impairment are included i n Appendix D). To facilitate the stat ist ical analysis of maternal perceptions of home environment , the categories of a lways and frequently, and sometimes and never were collapsed into the respective categories of agree/disagree. Thirty-one items (Table 7) applied to the second part of this research question. Thi r ty of these items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the respondents choosing 'agree' ra ther than 'disagree' . A l l respondents (8 or 100%) 'agreed' that: i) home was a caring place ii) individual i ty was appreciated and respected i i i ) children had equal opportunity to both speak and be heard iv) promises were kept v) the lovability of a child was separate from their actions vi) the lovability of a child was separate from performance on a task vii) children's privacy was respected vii i ) children's confidences were respected ix) our perceptions of ourselves is influenced by the treatment of others and affects our behavior x) parents have a significant impact on the development of their children's perceptions of themselves. 41 Seventeen items scored 7 of 8 or 87.5% of the respondents 'agreed' that: i) l imi t s and consequences were clearly defined ii) rules were predictable, consistent and reasonably enforced i i i ) home atmosphere was more positive than cri t ical iv) expression and ownership of emotions and opinions was encouraged for a l l family members v) expectations were st imulating yet achievable vi) each family member had responsibilities (chores) vii) family members felt a sense of affiliation vi i i ) mistakes were accepted and encouraged ix) peer affiliation through community/school activities was encouraged x) quali ty time was valued above quantity xi) interactions consisted of genuine, focused attention xii) praise outnumbered cr i t ic ism xii i) opportunity existed to share events of the day xiv) retreating from r isk- taking was acceptable xv) children had the right to negotiate, own, and exercise their choice xvi) a child's behavior was his/her response to the behavior of others xvii) parents and teachers shared equal responsibility for the education of children. Seventy-five percent of the respondents 'agreed' that 'chi ldren were involved i n the decision-making process'; and that 'children had a 42 voice i n determining what happened to them'. F ive of eight (62.5%) 'agreed' that 'consequences were logical and natural ' . One i t em of 31 resulted i n 62.5% of the respondents choosing 'disagree' over 'agree', that is, that ' r isk- taking was encouraged for the v i sua l ly impai red chi ld ' . Table 7 shows mothers' perceptions of their home environments. Table 7: Matemgl Perceptions of Home Environment Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 47. home is a caring place 8 (100%) 0 (----) 52. individual i ty respected 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 55. equal opportunity to speak 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 57. promises are followed through on 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 64. lovabil i ty separate from actions 8(100) 0 (--) 65. lovabil i ty separate from performance 8(100) 0 (--) 66. children's privacy is respected 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 67. children's confidences are respected 8(100) 0 (--) 76. self-perceptions influenced by others 8 (100) 0 (--) 77. parental impact on chi ld significant 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 48. clearly defined limits/consequences 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 49. rules consistent and predictable 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 51. home climate more positive than not 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 53. ownership of emotions encouraged 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 56. expectations stimulating/achievable 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 58. a l l family members have chores 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 59. family members feel group affiliation 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 60. mistakes accepted and encouraged 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 61. peer affiliation encouraged 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 62. quality time valued above quantity 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 63. genuine focused interaction(s) 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 68. praise outnumbers cr i t ic ism 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 69. opportunity for Beefs and Bouquets 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 71. retreat from r isk-taking acceptable 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 72. children have right to choice 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 74. behavior is i n response to others 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 75. equal responsibility for par./teach 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 54. chi ldren included i n making decisions 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 73. children have a voice i n what happens 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 50. logical and natural consequences 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 70. r isk- taking is encouraged 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 4 3 Addi t iona l analysis of information pertaining to mothers' perceptions of  the home environment not contained i n Table 7 F i f ty percent of the respondents cited common sense as their p r imary method of chi ld-rearing, and 50% stated they followed the parenta l model by which they themselves had been raised. A l l 6 respondents from the two-parent un i t families reported compat ibi l i ty between their child-rearing practices and that of their spouse's. F ive of the 8 famil ies incorporated t rad i t iona l or au thor i t a r i an methods of d i sc ip l ine (spanking/wooden spoon, g round ing , loss of p r iv i l ege , threats, etc.). Two families were more democratic preferring t a lk ing and reasoning to spanking; spanking was regarded as ineffectual, and demeaning to children. One of the single-parent respondents reported that she was permissive and often resorted to begging and pleading to "control" her chi ld . Three mothers had part icipated i n a Systematic T r a i n i n g for Effective Paren t ing P rog ram ( S T E P ) ; and 6 agreed to consider par t ic ipat ion i n such a programme i f i t was offered through the school district. The average score (X) for reactions and adjustment to blindness and v i sua l impai rment was 40. Two mothers indicated adjustment above the mean, while 2 were on, and 4 were below the mean. The average score for the cl imate of the home was 70, and 5 mothers perceived their home environments as positive and nur tu r ing . The average score for the self-esteem var iable was 58, and 3 mothers perceived their children as having a positive sense of self-worth. Table 8 shows the frequency distributions for maternal reactions, the climate of the home, and self-esteem; and Table 9 shows the rank-ordering of these variables. 4 4 Table 8: Frequency Distributions for Maternal Reactions. Home Climate, and Esteem Variables Subjects: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 M S * X Ma t . Reaction: 40 29 40 38 51 27 37 58 (72) 40.00 Home Cl imate : 77 62 57 85 79 79 47 74 (93) 70.00 Self-Esteem: 71 51 39 77 72 47 58 57 (93) 59.00 * M S = max imum score Table 9: Rank-Ordering Maternal Reactions. Home Climate and Self-Esteem Variables Subjects Maternal Reaction Home Climate Self-Esteem 1 2 2.5 2 2 1 5 5 3 3.5 4 3 4 6 8 4 5 8 2.5 7 6 5 1 1 7 3.5 7 8 8 7 6 6 Note. H i g h rank (i.e., low number) indicates better adjustment, posit ive/nurturing home environment, and h igh self-esteem i n children. Al though a statist ically significant correlation was not found to exist between maternal reactions to v i sua l impairment , home climate and self-esteem; a correlation coefficient (r) of .54 suggests a possible positive direct ion to a relat ionship between home cl imate and self-esteem for these eight chi ldren. Table 10 compares the association between maternal reactions to v i sua l impairment , home climate and self-esteem. T a b l e 10: S n e a r m a n C o r r e l a t i o n Coef f ic ien ts f o r M a t e r n a l Reactions. Home Climate and Self-Esteem Mat. Reaction Home Climate Self-Esteem Mat . Reaction 1.00 .05 .30 Home Cl imate .05 1.00 .54 Self-Esteem .30 ,54 L00 r = .707, p <.05 Problem Statement 3 : How do children's perceptions compare to maternal perceptions on the climate of the home environment? Resu l t s of the chi-square ana lys is on perceptions of home environment identified four statements as being statistically significant at the .05 level. These statements were: i) Ch i ld ren perceived they were scolded more often than mothers felt they criticized. i i) Mothers perceived themselves as following through on promises more so than did children. i i i) Chi ldren felt that they were treated differently than their siblings while mothers perceived treatment to be s imilar . iv) Mothers perceived children as having chores for which they were responsible, while children felt they did not contribute to the well-being of the family. Two items neared, but did not reach statistical significance at the .05 level . E i g h t or 100% of the mothers felt that chi ldren had equal opportunity to speak and that ind iv idua l differences were appreciated and respected; 62.5% of the children shared these perceptions. Table 11 compares the degree of association between children's and maternal perceptions of the home environment. Table 11: A Contingency Table for Comparing the Degree of Association Between Children's and Maternal Perceptions of the Home foivironment CQ# MQ#Resnonse Chi ld Mother C H I S Q U A R E 4 55 A D 5 3 8 0 3.692 >.05 4 6 Table 11 (Con't) CQ# MQ#Response Chi ld Mother C H I S Q U A R E ^ 11 18 22 42 51 52 53 54 56 57 58 59 60 61 49 72 62 68 52 47 50 57 59 48 80 58 63 64 51 A D A D A D A D A D A D A D A D A D A D A D A A A D A D A D 8 0 5 3 4 4 2 6 5 3 8 0 2 6 4 4 8 0 5 3 0 8 2 6 5 3 7 1 8 0 7 1 7 1 7 1 7 1 8 0 8 0 5 3 8 0 7 1 7 1 7 1 7 1 7 1 8 0 7 1 1.066 1.33 2.62 6.36 3.692 0.0 2.28 5.34 1.066 1.332 12.5 6.36 1.332 1.066 1.066 >.05 >.05 >.05 <.05* >.05 >.05 >.05 <.05* >.05 >.05 <.05* <.05* >.05 >.05 >.05 X =3.84 (.05 level) 4 7 Note. C Q = children's questionnaire i tem M Q = mother's questionnaire i t em A = agree D = disagree Problem Statement 4: How do maternal perceptions and teacher perceptions compare to children's perceptions of self-esteem? Forty-one items (Table 12) applied to a port ion of this research question. Twenty-six items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the chi ldren choosing 'agree' rather than 'disagree'. A l l respondents (8 or 100%) 'agreed' that they: i) l iked to be with people ii) sometimes pretended to be incapable when they were i n fact capable i i i ) were often unsure of teacher expectations iv) had a lot to learn v) sometimes misbehaved Eigh t items scored 7 of 8 or 87.5% of the children 'agreed' that: i) most people l iked them ii) they were proud of their school work i i i ) they got upset when scolded iv) they were special people v) i t was difficult for them to admit their mistakes vi) they asked questions when uncertain vii) they hated to lose vi i i ) they could take care of themselves 4 8 Seventy-five percent of the chi ldren 'agreed' that their teachers l i ked them; and that they sometimes made fun of people. E leven items scored 5 of 8 or 62.5% of the children 'agreed' that they: i) could make up their minds quite easily i i) often got upset i n school i i i ) l iked who they were iv) often wished they were someone else v) always tried to do their best vi) were shy vii) often felt sorry for themselves vi i i ) felt "picked on" my other children ix) l iked to attempt new things x) had good ideas xi) had a few close friends Six of the 41 i tems resulted i n 62.5% or more of the chi ldren choosing 'disagree' rather than 'agree'. S ix of the eight (75%) of the respondents 'disagreed' that they were not happy people; and that they were fai lures. Fou r i tems scored 5 of 8 or 62.5% of the ch i ldren 'disagreed' that: i) they were good looking i i) they preferred to play wi th toys rather than wi th other c h i l d r e n i i i ) they were generally to blame when there was any trouble iv) i t was okay to make mistakes Nine items were evenly split and resulted i n 4 of 8 or 50% of the children 'agreeing' while the other 50% 'disagreed'. The items were: i) there are many things I would change about me 4 9 i i ) i t takes me a while to get used to new things (change) i i i ) i t is pretty tough to be me iv) I am often sad v) I usually say what I th ink vi) I am a failure vi i) I feel embarrassed when complimented vi i i ) I would rather play by myself than wi th other chi ldren ix) I never do anything right. Table 12 shows children's perceptions of their self-worth. (Addi t ional anecdotal comments pe r t a in ing to chi ldren 's self-perceptions are included i n Appendix E) . Table 12: Frequency Distribution and Percentages of Children's Self-Perceptions Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 23. I l ike to be wi th other people 8 (100%) o (—-%; 27. I pretend to be unable when able 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 37. am unsure of teacher expectations 8(100) 0 (---) 41. I have a lot to learn 8(100) 0 (--) 48. I sometimes misbehave 8(100) 0 ( - - ) 17. most people l ike me 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 20. I am proud of my school work 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 32. I get upset when I am scolded 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 33. I am a special person 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 40. I ask questions when uncertain 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 47. I hate to lose 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 50. I can take care of myself 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 25. my teachers l ike me 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 38. admit t ing a mistake is difficult 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 46. I sometimes make fun of people 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 2. I can make up my mind quite easily 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 6. I often get upset i n school 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 9. I l ike who I am 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 12. I often wish I was someone else 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 16. I always try to do my best 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 24. I am shy 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 26. I often feel sorry for myself 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 28. kids pick on me a lot 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 5 0 Table 12 (Con't) Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 34. I l ike to t ry new things 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 39. I have good ideas 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 49. I have a few close friends 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 3. I do not l ike change 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 5. i t is pretty tough to be me 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 8. I am often sad 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 10. I usual ly say what I think 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 31. I l ike the way I look 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 35. compliments embarrass me 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 36. I prefer to play alone 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 44. I never do anything right 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 13. I am good looking 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 21. I prefer to play wi th toys than kids 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 43. any trouble is usually my fault 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 55 i t is okay to make mistakes 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 19. I am not a happy person 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 30. I am a failure 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) To facili tate the stat ist ical analysis of materna l perceptions of chi ldren 's self-esteem, the categories of a lways and frequently and sometimes and never were collapsed into the respective categories of agree/disagree. O f 31 items (Table 13), 22 resulted i n 62.5% or more of the mothers choosing 'agree' rather than 'disagree'. A l l 8 mothers (100%) 'agreed' that their children took pride i n task performance and completion. N i n e i tems scored 7 of 8 or 87.5% of the mothers agreed' that ch i ld ren : i) were generally sure of expectations ii) coped wi th change/spontaneity easily i i i ) formed trust ing relationships easily iv) were comfortable accepting praise/compliments v) understood the meaning of friendship vi) enjoyed interactions wi th peers vii) were comfortable making/executing own decisions vi i i ) put forth a genuine effort ix) expressed opinions freely Seven items scored 6 of 8 or 75% of the mothers 'agreed' that ch i l d r en : i) were comfortable wi th their physical appearance ii) maintained friendships easily i i i ) were valued by their peers iv) were sensitive to the needs/emotions of others v) accepted responsibility for their actions vi) recognized alternative solutions to problems vii) strove for independence F ive items scored 5 of 8 or 62.5% of the mothers 'agreed' that ch i l d r en : i) were comfortable wi th close physical contact i i) were comfortable attempting new experiences i i i ) were accepting and non-critical of others iv) demonstrated a sense of 'connectedness' w i th people more so than objects v) rel ied on peer group as pr imary source of affiliation. F ive of the 31 items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the mothers choosing 'disagree' rather than 'agree'. Seven of eight (87.5%) mothers 'disagreed' that their ch i ld ren persevered when confronted w i t h a difficult task. Seventy-five percent 'disagreed' that their ch i ld ren accepted c r i t i c i sm or correction without over-reacting. Three i tems scored 5 of 8 or 62.5% of the respondents 'disagreed' that their children set real is t ic goals; identified personal weaknesses; or embodied an "I Can" attitude. Four items were evenly split and resulted i n 4 of 8 or 50% of the mothers choosing 'agree' while the other 50% chose 'disagree'. The items were: i) expresses and identifies emotions appropriately ii) attempts tasks without excessive fear of failure i i i ) identifies personal strengths iv) displays good sportsmanship Table 13 shows mothers' perceptions of children's self-esteem. Table 13: Frequency and Percentages of Maternal Perceptions of Children's Self-Esteem Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 105. 84. 85. 87. 90. 97. 100. 101. 106. 107. 89. 94. 95. 98. 102. 104. 114. 86. 88. 91. 96. 99. 93. 108. 110. takes pride i n task performance chi ld aware of expectations copes wi th change, spontaneity forms t rust ing relationships easily comfortable accepting praise understands meaning of friendship enjoys interactions wi th peers comfortable making own decisions puts forth a genuine effort freely expresses ideas, opinions comfortable wi th physical appearance init iates and maintains friendships valued by peers sensitive to others' needs/emotions assumes responsibility for actions sees alternatives to problems strives for personal independence comfortable wi th physical contact comfortable t ry ing new experiences accepting and non-critical of others connected to people more than objects relies on peers for affiliation expresses emotions appropriately tries tasks without fear of failure identifies personal strengths 8(100%) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 7 (87.5) 6 (75.0) 6 (75.0) 6 (75.0) 6 (75.0) 6 (75.0) 6 (75.0) 6 (75.0) 5 (62.5) 5 (62.5) 5 (62.5) 5 (62.5) 5 (62.5) 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 0 (----) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 1 (12.5) 2 (25.0) 2 (25.0) 2 (25.0) 2 (25.0) 2 (25.0) 2 (25.0) 2 (25.0) 3 (37.5) 3 (37.5) 3 (37.5) 3 (37.5) 3 (37.5) 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) TABLE 13 (CONT) Item A G R E E D I S A G R E E 112. displays good sportsmanship 4(50.0) 4(50.0) 103. sets realistic personal goals 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 111. identifies personal weaknesses 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 113. embodies an "I C A N " attitude 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 92. does not over-react to cri t icism 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 109. perseveres wi th difficult tasks 1(12.5) 7(87.5) To facilitate the stat ist ical analysis of teachers' perceptions of chi ldren 's self-esteem, the categories of a lways and frequently and sometimes and never were collapsed into the respective categories of agree/disagree. Of 31 items (Table 14), 16 resulted i n 62.5% or more of the teachers choosing 'agree' rather than 'disagree'. A l l 8 teachers (100%) 'agreed' that chi ldren were comfortable accepting praise. Two items scored 7 of 8 or 87.5% of the teachers 'agreed' that chi ldren were generally sure of expectations; and enjoyed peer interactions. E igh t items scored 6 of 8 or 75% of the respondents 'agreed' that ch i ld ren : i) coped wi th change/spontaneity easily ii) were comfortable wi th their physical appearance i i i ) expressed and identified emotions appropriately iv) demonstrated a sense of 'connectedness' wi th people more so than objects v) understood the meaning of friendship vi) were sensitive to the needs/emotions of others vii) were comfortable making/executing decisions vii i ) expressed opinions freely. F ive items scored 5 of 8 or 62.5% of the teachers 'agreed' that ch i ld ren : i) formed relationships easily ii) were comfortable attempting new experiences i i i ) were accepting and non-critical of others iv) displayed good sportsmanship v) strove for independence Seven of the 31 items resulted i n 62.5% or more of the teachers choosing 'disagree" rather than 'agree'. S ix of eight (75%) teachers 'disagreed' that children maintained friendships easily; were valued by their peers; recognized alternative solutions to problems; or persevered when confronted wi th a difficult task. Three items scored 5 of 8 or 62.5% of the teachers 'disagreed' that children accepted cr i t ic ism or correction without over-reacting; identified personal strengths; and weaknesses. E igh t items were evenly split and resulted i n 4 of 8 or 50% of the respondents choosing 'agree' while the other 50% chose 'disagree'. The items were: i) is comfortable wi th close physical contact i i) relies on peers as pr imary source of affiliation i i i ) assumes responsibility for personal actions iv) sets realistic goals v) takes pride i n task performance and completion vi) puts forth a genuine effort vii) does not fear failure vi i i ) embodies an "I Can" attitude. Table 14 shows teachers perceptions of children's self-esteem. 5 5 Table 14: Frequency and Percentages of Teachers' Perceptions of Children's Self-Esteem I tem A G R E E D I S A G R E E 90. comfortable accepting praise 8 (100%) 0 ( - - ) 84. chi ld aware of expectations 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 100. enjoys interactions wi th peers 7 (87.5) 1 (12.5) 85. copes wi th change, spontaneity 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 89. comfortable wi th physical appearance 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 93. expresses emotions appropriately 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 96. connected to people more than objects 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 97. understands meaning of friendship 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 98. sensitive to others' needs/emotions 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 101. comfortable making own decisions 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 107. expresses ideas and opinions freely 6 (75.0) 2 (25.0) 87. forms t rust ing relationships easily 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 88. comfortable t ry ing new experiences 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 91. accepting and non-critical of others 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 112. displays good sportsmanship 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 114. strives for personal independence 5 (62.5) 3 (37.5) 86. comfortable wi th physical contact 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 99. relies on peers for affiliation 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 102. assumes responsibility for actions 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 103. sets realistic personal goals 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 105. takes pride i n task performance 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 106. puts forth a genuine effort 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 108. tries tasks without fear of failure 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 113. embodies an "I C A N " attitude 4 (50.0) 4 (50.0) 92. does not over-react to cri t icism 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 110. identifies personal strengths 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 111. identifies personal weaknesses 3 (37.5) 5 (62.5) 94. init iates and maintains friendships 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 95. valued by peers 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 104. sees alternatives to problems 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) 109. perseveres wi th difficult tasks 2 (25.0) 6 (75.0) The average score (X) for children's self-perceptions was 21.88, and 4 chi ldren perceived themselves worthy of esteem. The average score for mothers' perceptions of self-esteem was 59.00, and 3 mothers perceived their children as having h igh self-esteem. The average score for teachers' perceptions of children's self-esteem was 52.38, and 4 teachers perceived their students as having h igh self-esteem. Table 15 shows the means for children's, mothers', and teachers' perceptions of 5 6 chi ldren 's self-esteem; Table 16 shows the rank-order ing of these variables. Table 15: Means for Children's. Mothers' and Teachers' Perceptions of Esteem Subjects: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 • X C h i l d r e n : 29 16 6 28 34 27 16 19 21.88 Mothers : 71 51 39 77 72 47 58 57 59.00 Teachers: 56 43 41 60 73 35 69 42 52.38 Table 16: Rank-Ordering Chudren's. Mothers' and Teachers' Perceptions of Self-Esteem Subjects Chi ldren Maternal Teacher 1 1 2 1 2 5 5 6 3 2 3 4 4 6.5 4 2 5 4 7 8 6 3 1 3 7 8 8 7 8 6.5 6 5 Note. H i g h rank (i.e., low number) indicates a h igh level of self-esteem. There was a significant (p <.05) positive bivar ia te correlat ion between chi ldren 's and mothers ' perceptions of self-esteem; and mothers ' and teachers ' perceptions of chi ldren ' s self-esteem. A correlation coefficient (r) of .74 and .83 respectively, indicated a positive associat ion between mothers ' and ch i ldren ' s ; and mothers ' and teachers' perceptions of self-esteem i n these eight v i s u a l l y impai red chi ldren. No significant relat ionship was found between children's perceptions of self-worth, and the perceptions of their teachers. Table 17 5 7 compares the association between children's , mothers' and teachers' perceptions of self-esteem. Table 17: Sparman Correlation Coefficients for Children's, Mothers' and Teachers' Perceptions of Self-Esteem Chi ldren Maternal Teacher Chi ldren ' s Perceptions 1.00 .74 .47 Mate rna l Perceptions .74* 1.00 .83 Teacher Perceptions £L £ 3 1.00 * r = ,707,p. <.05 Resul ts of the chi-square analysis on children's , mothers' and teachers' perceptions of self-esteem identified two statements as being s ta t i s t i ca l ly signif icant at the .05 leve l . A l l eight ch i ld ren were uncer ta in as to what adults expected, pa r t i cu la r ly the i r teachers, whereas 87.5% of mothers and teachers felt that chi ldren knew what was expected. Seven of eight children (87.5%) felt they persevered when confronted wi th a difficult task, whereas 87.5% of mothers and teachers disagreed that perseverance was demonstrated. Table 18 compares the degree of association among children, mothers and teacher. Table 18: A Contingency Table for Children's. Mothers' and Teachers' Responses Item R Child Mother Teacher CHI-SQUARE knows expectations A 0 7 7 16.86 <.05* D 8 1 1 perseverance A 7 1 2 10.65 <.05* D 1 7 6 underst. friendship A 3 7 6 4.93 >.05 D 5 1 2 appearance okay A 3 6 6 4.80 >.05 D 5 2 2 accepts praise A 4 7 8 4.78 >.05 D 4 1 0 prides performance A 7 8 4 4.78 >.05 D 1 0 4 good sportsmanship A 1 4 5 4.47 >.05 D 7 4 3 5 8 Table 18 (CONT) Item R Child Mother Teacher CHISQUARE >.05 valued by peers A 5 6 2 4.36 D 3 2 6 keeps friendships A 4 6 2 4.00 >.05 D 4 2 6 responsible actions A 2 6 4 4.00 >.05 D 6 2 4 accepting of others A 2 5 5 3.16 >.05 D 6 3 3 "I CAN" attitude A 0 3 4 3.06 >.05 D 8 5 4 copes with change A 4 7 6 2.86 >.05 D 4 1 2 expresses opinion A 4 7 6 2.86 >.05 D 4 1 2 close contact okay A 7 5 4 2.65 >05 D 1 3 4 genuine effort A 5 7 4 2.65 >.05 D 3 1 4 forms relationships A 5 7 5 1.63 >.05 D 3 1 3 makes decisions A 5 7 6 1.34 >.05 D 3 1 2 accepts criticism A 1 2 3 1.34 >.05 D 7 6 5 people connected A 5 5 6 .66 >.05 D 3 3 2 enjoys interactions A 8 7 7 .35 >.05 D 0 1 1 peer affiliated A 4 5 4 .32 >.05 D 4 3 4 mistakes acceptable A 3 4 4 .32 >.05 D 5 4 4 takes risks A 5 5 5 .24 >.05 D 3 3 3 A X = 5.99 (.05 level) * statistically significant Note. R = response Problem Statement 5: Is there a need for a curricula-based programme to enhance self-esteem for this group of eight v isua l ly impaired children? The average score (X) for securi ty was 1.88. F o u r ch i ldren expressed a sense of strong assuredness, whereas 4 d id not. The average score for self-hood was 7.38. Four children expressed a feeling of i nd iv idua l i t y , whereas 4 demonstrated greater uncertainty. The average score for affiliation was 4.63. F ive chi ldren felt approved of, appreciated and respected by others, whereas 3 did not. The average score for miss ion was 4.5. Four chi ldren expressed feeling a sense of empowerment or a sense of purpose and motivation, whereas 4 felt they lacked vol i t ional control. The average score for competence was 3.5. Four chi ldren felt a sense of accomplishment and success, whereas 4 expressed feelings of incompetence. Table 19 shows the frequency distributions and average scores for the five components of self-esteem. Table 19: Frequency Distributions and Average Scores for the Five Components of Self-Esteem Subjects: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 M S * X Security: 3 1 1 4 3 2 1 0 (5) 1.88 Self-hood: 10 4 0 8 12 11 7 7 (14) 7.38 Af f i l i a t ion : 6 5 1 5 7 4 4 5 (7) 4.63 M i s s i o n : 5 4 3 5 6 5 4 4 (7) 4.50 Competence: 5 2 1 6 6 5 0 3 (8) 3.50 29 16 6 28 34 27 16 19 (41) 21.88 * M S = max imum score This chapter has provided a detailed statistical analysis of the results of this study. The following chapter w i l l summarize the results. 6 0 C H A P T E R F I V E DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS This chapter w i l l provide a summary of the results; consider the l imitat ions of the study; and offer recommendations for future research. Whi le many factors contribute to the happiness and productivity of chi ldren, this study provides evidence to support the l i n k between home environment and the level of self-esteem i n eight pr imary grade v i sua l ly impai red chi ldren. The data from this study support other research studies which have related children's self-esteem to parent regard and parent guidance w i t h defined and enforced l i m i t s , i n addit ion to respect and lati tude for the chi ld (Baumr ind , 1967; Cook-Clampert , 1981; Coopersmith, 1967a; Samuels, 1977; Schwartz , 1966; and Sears, 1970). Four major findings may be drawn from the results of this study. The first is that the climate of the home appears related to how these eight v isual ly impaired children used their functional vis ion, and their level of self-esteem. Genera l ly speaking, v i sua l ly impa i red chi ldren tend to be more visual ly efficient when over-protectiveness is minimized, and when independence is the expected norm. The second f inding is related to the first conclusion, al though statistical significance was not achieved. There appears to be a positive relationship between self-esteem and the use of functional vis ion. Lack of s tat is t ical significance may i n part be due to the fact that v i sua l impairment tends not to have the same negative social implicat ions for younger chi ldren as i t does for older children. Nonetheless, this finding 61 has important implicat ions for both the home and school i n that the leve l of self-esteem is l i k e l y to influence how ch i ld ren use thei r remaining vis ion to either achieve independence or remain dependent. A t h i r d f inding was that ch i ldren and mothers had stronger opinions than expected for 4 statements pertaining to the climate of the home. Ch i ld r en perceived an increased incidence of scolding, broken promises , d i f fe ren t ia l t rea tment , and reduced o p p o r t u n i t y for contributing to the well-being of the family, than d id their mothers. A n equal number (5) of children and mothers reported posi t ive-nurtur ing home environments. A fourth f inding suggests that children's perceptions of self-worth is lower than one would expect for children of this age. A possible explana t ion for this f ind ing is that a l though ch i ld ren make self-derogatory statements about their self-worth and competence, parents and teachers may not recognize the extent to which chi ldren depreciate themselves. Whi le i t may be difficult to accept negat iv ism i n young children, i t is important that their self-evaluations be taken seriously. W h e n re inforcing statements of ' s ignif icant others' are i n direct opposition to children's own feelings, ch i ld ren r ema in unconvinced, and change is v i r tua l ly impossible. It is not what parents and teachers think about a child's self-concept that is important; but what the chi ld is feeling. A n interesting finding was that no relationship was found to exist between children's perceptions of self-worth and the perceptions of their teachers. To some extent, this result supports the findings of Brune i , Walker-Dupery and Schleifer (1989) who found that empathic teachers, that is, teachers who best predicted student response on the basis of the 6 2 P i e r s - H a r r i s Self-Concept Scale, over-est imated p u p i l self-concept, whereas less empathic teachers under-estimated self-concept. A conc lus ion of th i s s tudy is tha t both cu r r i cu l a -based programmes and a Systematic T ra in ing for Effective Paren t ing (STEP) to promote self-esteem would be useful for these 8 chi ldren and their mothers. It is suggested that schools recognize and embrace self-enhancement programmes wh ich generate posi t ive a t t i tudes and feelings i n chi ldren (Borba, 1989; Burnet t , 1983; Canfie ld and Wel ls , 1976; and E l k i n s , 1977); and S T E P programmes w h i c h faci l i ta te a t t i tudinal change i n parents (Summerl in and Ward , 1981). Parents of v isual ly impaired children need to be aware of the important role they p l ay i n p romot ing the i r ch i ldren ' s self-esteem, and tha t home cl imate/experiences and ch i ld - r ea r ing pract ices impac t chi ldren ' s perceptions of themselves. Limitations Clea r ly , a l imi ta t ion of this study was the smal l sample size wh ich restricted the general izabil i ty of the results. A larger sample would improve the generalizabil i ty of results as wel l as provide more comparat ive informat ion on the self-esteem of males/females and younger and older students. Another advantage of a larger sample per ta ins to the genera l i zab i l i ty of ma te rna l react ions to v i s u a l impairment , and support of related l i terature . Fur ther , the selected samples (children, mothers and teachers) may not be representative of the general populat ion given that the subjects were not randomly selected. As wel l , the age of the chi ldren must be considered. In this study, considerat ion of age is impor tan t for two reasons: i) young 6 3 ch i ld ren may have a l i m i t e d awareness of themselves and thei r emotions and; i i ) most exist ing self-concept and self-esteem inventory scales lack applicabil i ty for five-year-olds (content/vocabulary). Another l imi ta t ion is the difficulty i n assessing the multi-faceted dimension of another person's "se l f . Self-reporting ins t ruments are subject to in terpreta t ion and is a methodological l i m i t a t i o n of most research studies (Morse, 1964; and Samuels , 1977). Self-report inventories only reveal what the respondent is w i l l i n g and/or able to disclose. Thus, the researcher is faced wi th a myr iad of questions such as, W h a t does a response mean? Is i t honest? Is the respondent defensive? Samuels (1977) contended that the accuracy of self-report depends on the clarity of the subject's awareness and selective recall of past events; command of the language; cooperative rapport; and the degree of trust, empathy and mutual positive regard. A control group was not used i n this s tudy because of the inherent problems i n comparing visual ly impaired chi ldren and sighted ch i ld ren (Warren , 1984). Since the researcher was interested i n i so la t ing each child 's uniqueness for educational programming, and not making a comparison of children, a control group was not included. A final consideration pertains to scoring procedures, and the fact that the mother of the foster ch i ld received ful l points for positive response to maternal adjustment. The foster family was included i n data tabulation given that voluntary acceptance of a v i sua l ly impaired chi ld is indicative of positive adjustment. Nonetheless, such inclusion l i ke ly skewed (increased) the scores for materna l reactions to v i sua l impa i rment ; and perhaps accounts for the f ind ing that mate rna l reactions were not as negative as one may have expected. A second l im i t a t i on of scoring was that ident ica l questions were not asked of chi ldren and mothers on either self-esteem or home environment given that the age of the children precluded the use of identical methodological instruments. Thus, interpretation of the results are subjective to content and vocabulary analysis. Implications for Future Research This study on the self-evaluations of eight v i s u a l l y impa i red chi ldren was exploratory. Both qualitative and quanti tat ive research is clearly needed to further investigate the impact of v i sua l impairment on self-esteem. O f specific interest how the self-esteem of the parent(s) and teacher(s) influence the self-esteem of children. 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Perceptual Motor S k i l l s . 21, 771-774. Zur i ta , P . (1982). The right to understanding: The practical objectives of a public relations programme to counter myths about blindness and to promote understanding. A A W B  Blindness Annua l . 68-70. APPENDIX A A copy of the i n t e r v i e w - s c h e d u l e used to c o l l e c t i n f o r m a t i o n from 8 v i s u a l l y impaired c h i l d r e n on t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s of t h e i r home environment, and t h e i r s e l f - w o r t h . 72 CHILDRENS' INTERVIEW SCHEDULE FOR SELF-ESTEEM Name: Grade: Date: Time: 1. There are many things I would change about "me" True False i f I could. 2. I can make up my mind quite easily. True False 3. It takes me a long time to get used to new things True False (change). 4. My parent(s) listen to my feelings. True False 5. It's pretty tough to be me. True False 6. I often get upset in school. True False 7. The things my parents ask me to do are fai r . True False 8. I am often sad. True False 9. I like who I am. True False 10. I usually say what I think. True False 11. My parent<s) understand me. True False 12. I often wish I was someone else. True False 13. I am good looking. True False 14. There are many times I would like to run away True False from home. 15. My parent(s) and I have a lot of fun together. True False 16. I always try to do my best. True False 17. Most people like me. True False 18. I feel unnoticed (ignored) at home. True False 19. I am not a happy person. True F a l s e 20. I am proud of the work I do i n sch o o l . True F a l s e 21. I would rather play with toys than with other k i d s . True F a l s e 22. I am not scolded very much. True F a l s e 23. I l i k e to be with people. True F a l s e 24. I am shy. True F a l s e 25. My teachers l i k e me. True F a l s e 26. I o f t e n f e e l s o r r y for myself. True F a l s e 27. I sometimes pretend I cannot do something when I True F a l s e r e a l l y can. 28. K i d s p i c k on me a l o t . True F a l s e 29. I am not picked on at home. True F a l s e 30. I am a f a i l u r e . True F a l s e 31. I l i k e the way I look. True F a l s e 32. I get upset when people s c o l d me. True F a l s e 33. I am a s p e c i a l person. True F a l s e 34. I l i k e t o t r y new t h i n g s . True F a l s e 35. I f e e l embarrassed when people t e l l me I've done True F a l s e a good job. 36. I would rather play by myself than with other k i d s . True F a l s e 37. I am often unsure what my teacher expects/wants. True F a l s e 38. It i s hard for me t o admit when I make a mistake. True F a l s e 39. I have good ideas. True F a l s e 40. I ask questions when I do not understand something. True F a l s e 41. I have a l o t t o l e a r n . True F a l s e 42. I am an important member of my fami l y . True F a l s e 74 43. When t h i n g s go wrong i t i s u s u a l l y my f a u l t . True F a l s e 44. I never do anything r i g h t . True F a l s e 45. I l i k e my br o t h e r ( s ) True F a l s e s i s t e r ( s ) True F a l s e 46. I sometimes make fun of people. True F a l s e 47. I hate t o l o s e . True F a l s e 48. I sometimes misbehave. True F a l s e 49. I have a few c l o s e f r i e n d s . True F a l s e 50. I can take care of myself. True F a l s e 51. Home i s a c a r i n g place. True F a l s e 52. When I am punished i t i s f a i r . True F a l s e 53. My parent(s) keep t h e i r promises t o me. True F a l s e 54. I l i k e spending time with my family. True F a l s e 55. It i s okay t o make mistakes. True F a l s e 56. My parent(s) t r e a t me f a i r l y . True F a l s e 57. I am t r e a t e d the same as my b r o t h e r s / s i s t e r s . True F a l s e 58. I am allowed to help out at home. True F a l s e 59. My parent<s) have time for me. True F a l s e 60. My parent(s) love me no matter what. True F a l s e 61. I l i k e l i v i n g i n my family. True F a l s e 62. What makes you happy ? 63. What makes you sad ? 75 64. What i s i t l i k e to be v i s u a l l y impaired (not see so well) ? 65. If you were to be given one wish i n a l l the world, what would you ask for ? Adapted from the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (SEI), 1967. Pie r s - H a r r i s Children's Concept Scale, 1983. Borba Self-Esteem T a l l y (B-SET), 1989. 76 APPENDIX B A sample of the i n t e r v i e w - s c h e d u l e used t o c o l l e c t i n f o r m a t i o n from the mothers of the 8 v i s u a l l y i m p a i r e d c h i l d r e n . INTERVIEW SCHEDULE 77 SECTION Ii DEMOGRAPHIC DATA 1. Sex of the v i s u a l l y impaired c h i l d : a) female b) male 2. Age of the v i s u a l l y impaired c h i l d : 3. Grade cur ren t l y a t tending: 4. Type of educat ional placement: a) regular classroom b) regular classroom with i n - c l a s s a ide support c) s p e c i a l learn ing resource programme 5. B i r t h order of the v i s u a l l y impaired c h i l d : a) f i r s t born d) born (speci fy ) b) second born e) only c h i l d c) t h i r d born 6. Sex and age of s i b l i n g s : male female; age male female; age male female; age male female; age male female; , age 7. The family unit i s a : a) t r a d i t i o n a l family (natural mother & father) b) s ing le -parent family (mother or father) c) blended family (natural parent & step-parent ) d) extended family ( t r a d i t i o n a l uni t & grandparents) e) foster family f) other (speci fy ) 8. Parents' / Guardians' Education! Check highest level attained: Father some highschool highschool diploma some college trade institute diploma bachelor's degree other 9. Employment Status: Father full-time part-time unemployed never worked unable to work 10. Occupation: Please specify: father mother Mother Mother SECTION Hi DIAGNOSIS OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT 11. Please provide a detailed description of your child's visual impairment: 12. How old was your child at the time the visual impairment was diagnosed ? 13. Who diagnosed the visual impairment ? a) ophthalmologist b) optometrist c) paediatrician d) family physician e) CNIB Family Counsellor f) other 79 14. C i r c l e the d e s c r i p t o r ( s ) which are i n agreement with your perceptions of the d i a g n o s t i c i a n : a) provided adequate preparation before breaking the "news" b) defined the v i s u a l l o s s i n understandable terms c) d i r e c t , candid and f o r t h r i g h t manner d) s e n s i t i v e e) compassionate f ) empathetic g) supportive h) other Comments: 15. Was the l o s s of v i s i o n compounded by other l o s s ( e s ) ? 16. Was the c h i l d h o s p i t a l i z e d or separated from the family for any length of time during i n f a n c y ? Preschool years ? SECTION I I I : MATERNAL ATTITUDES AND REACTIONS Below are some commonly held b e l i e f s and a t t i t u d e s about b l i n d n e s s . Please c i r c l e the l e t t e r that most c l o s e l y matches your l e v e l of agreement with each statement. The Rating Scale i s as f o l l o w s : S t r o n g l y Agree (SA) Agree (A) Disagree (D) St r o n g l y Disagree (SD) 17. There are other sensory l o s s e s greater than that SA A D SD of the d e p r i v a t i o n of s i g h t . 18. Blindness i s not a punishment for moral s i n . SA A D SD 19. B l i n d people are not i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , p h y s i c a l l y SA A D SD or emotionally i n f e r i o r . 20. B l i n d people do not have supernatural a b i l i t y SA A D SD (musical, hearing, e t c ) . 21. B l i n d people are more s i m i l a r t o , than d i f f e r e n t SA A D SD from, s i g h t e d people. so 22. Happiness i s not dependent upon the amount of SA A D SD remaining s i g h t a person r e t a i n s . 23. B l i n d n e s s i s not a l e g i t i m a t e reason for avoiding SA A D SD personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . 24. B l i n d people can be as independent as s i g h t e d . SA A D SD 25. B l i n d people do not need more p r o t e c t i o n than SA A D SD s i g h t e d people. 26. Acceptance of a v i s u a l handicap i s the same as SA A D SD accepting any other kind of handicap. 27. A d j u s t i n g t o blindness i s a f l u i d and changing SA A D SD process throughout l i f e . 28. What experience had you had with b l i n d and v i s u a l l y impaired people p r i o r to the b i r t h of your c h i l d ? a) no previous experience b) other family member c) f r i e n d d) colleague e) classmate 29. Please describe these experiences; and i n d i c a t e whether the exposure l e f t a p o s i t i v e or negative impression of b l i n d people i n your mind. Beside each statement, please c i r c l e the l e t t e r that most c l o s e l y expressed your f e e l i n g s on l e a r n i n g that your c h i l d was v i s u a l l y impaired. The Rating Scale i s as f o l l o w s : Strongly Agree (SA) Agree (A) Disagree (D) Str o n g l y Disagree (SD) 30. F e l t detached; a sense of u n r e a l i t y or d i s b e l i e f . SA A D SD "This can't be happening ..." 31. Questioned our/my adequacy and a b i l i t y t o cope as SA A D SD p a r e n t ( s ) . 81 32. Occasionally f e l t angry and resentful: a) toward s e l f SA A D SD b) toward "significant other" SA A D SD c) toward "blind" c h i l d SA A D SD d) toward parents of sighted children SA A D SD e) toward "God" SA A D SD f) toward opthalmologist SA A D SD Wondered whether the worthwhile goals i n l i f e SA A D SD would be denied my c h i l d . "My c h i l d won't ever ..." 34. Resented the impact that the visual impairment SA A D SD would have on my personal goals. "I won't ever" 35. At times, f e l t isolated and lonely. SA A D SD 36. At times, experienced periods of depression, SA A D SD despair, d i s i n t e r e s t , discouragement. 37. At times, f e l t embarrassed by public reactions to SA A D SD my child's visual impairment. Additional Comments: 38. How have your perceptions about "blindness" changed since becoming the parent(s) of a v i s u a l l y impaired c h i l d ? 39. How i s your child's "blindness" perceived by family members such as s i b l i n g s , grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins ? 40. How does society react to your child's "blindness" ? 8 2 41. What i s your child's reaction to being i d e n t i f i e d as "blind" ? 42. How would you rate the level of support services provided at the time of diagnosis: extremely supportive; supportive; unsupportive; extremely unsupportive 43. How would you rate the level of support services provided during the preschool years: extremely supportive; supportive; unsupportive; extremely unsupportive 44. How would you rate the level of support services provided during the school years: extremely supportive; supportive; unsupportive; extremely unsupportive 45. If a genie were to grant you one wish t h i s instant, what would you wish for ? 46. If you had a single piece of information to offer the parents of a recently diagnosed "blind" c h i l d , what would you impart ? E33 SECTION IV: HOME ENVIRONMENT The statements below describe situations found to promote self-esteem. C i r c l e the l e t t e r which most closely represents your perceptions about the home environment. The Rating Scale i s as follows: Never CN) Sometimes (S) Frequently (F) Always (A) 47. Home i s a safe and caring place. N S F A 48. Limits and consequences are c l e a r l y defined. N S F A 49. Rules are predictable, consistent, and reasonably enforced. N S F A 50. Consequences are l o g i c a l and natural. N S F A 51. The home atmosphere i s more positive than c r i t i c a l . N S F A 52. Individual differences are appreciated and respected. N S F A 53. Expression and ownership of emotions and opinions i s encouraged for a l l family members. N S F A 54. Children are encouraged to share in the decision-making process. N s F A 55. Children have an equal opportunity to both speak and be heard. N S F A 56. Expectations are high enough to be stimulating, yet remain achievable. N S F A 57. Children can depend on what i s promised. N s F A 58. A l l family members (even the smallest) have chores for which they are responsible; a l l contribute to the well-being of the family. N s F A 59. Family members feel a sense of group a f f i l i a t i o n and genuinely enjoy each others' company. N s F A SO. Mistakes are accepted and encouraged. "It i s okay to f a i l ; to not be perfect." N s F A 61. Eff o r t s are made to help children earn status and N s F A a f f i l i a t i o n with their peers (Brownies/ Guides, Cubs/Scouts, L i t t l e League, Band, etc.). 84 62. Quality time i s valued above quantity time. N S F A 63. Encounters/interactions are genuine, consisting of N S F A focused attention or a sense of "all-hereness". "Listening with more than half an ear." 64. The ' l o v a b i l i t y ' of a c h i l d i s separate from their N S F A actions, regardless of the d e s i r a b i l i t y of the behavior. "My c h i l d i s lovable even though his/her behavior may or may not be acceptable." 65. The ' l o v a b i l i t y ' of a c h i l d and their performance on N S F A a task (success or failure) are d i s t i n c t l y separate e n t i t i e s . "My c h i l d i s worthy and lovable regardless of whether or not success or f a i l u r e i s experienced." 66. Childrens' privacy i s respected. N S F A 67. Childrens' confidences are respected. N S F A 68. Praise outnumbers c r i t i c i s m . N S F A 69. Opportunity exists for sharing events of the day and/or a i r i n g "Beefs or Bouquets". N S F A 70. Risk-taking i s encouraged. N S F A 71. Upon taking a r i s k , the option of retreat without dishonor or r i d i c u l e i s acceptable. N S F A 72. Children have the right to negotiate, own, and exercise their choice. N S F A 73. Children have a voice in determining what happens to them; power i s shared. N S F A 74. A ch i l d ' s behavior i s his/her response to the behavior of others. N S F A 75. Parents and teachers share an equal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the education of children. N S F A 76. •ur perception of ourselves i s influenced by the N 8 F A treatment of others and affects how we behave. 77. Parents have a si g n i f i c a n t impact on the development of their child(ren)'s perceptions of themselves. N S F A 85 Child-Rearing Practices? 78. Of the following commonly used methods of child-rearing, on which do you rely the most ? 79. Please describe your methods of d i s c i p l i n e : 80. Do you treat your children a l l the same? 81. Are child-rearing practices mutually compatible between yourself and your s i g n i f i c a n t other(s) ? 82. Have you ever participated in a Systematic Training for Effective Parenting or STEP Program ? 83. Would you consider p a r t i c i p a t i n g in such a program i f one was made available to you ? SECTION V: YOUR CHILD'S SELF-ESTEEM Beside each statement, please c i r c l e the l e t t e r which most closely r e f l e c t s your perceptions/estimation of your v i s u a l l y impaired child's self-esteem. The Rating Scale i s as follows: c. d. a. b. parental model - "how your parents raised you" common sense - " t r i a l and error" peer example - "what neighbors, friends are doing professional books and resources II Never Sometimes Frequently Always <N) (S) (F) (A) The c h i l d 84. Is generally sure of what i s expected of them. N S F A 85. Copes with change/spontaneity easily. N S F A 86 8 6 . Is comfortable with close physical contact. N S F A 8 7 . Forms trusting relationships e a s i l y . N S F A 8 8 . Is comfortable trying new experiences. N S F A 8 9 . Is comfortable with his/her physical appearance. N S F A 9 0 . Is comfortable accepting praise. N S F A 9 1 . Is accepting and n o n - c r i t i c a l of others. N S F A 9 2 . Does not over-react to c r i t i c i s m or correction. N S F A 9 3 . Expresses and i d e n t i f i e s emotions appropriately. N S F A 9 4 . I n i t i a t e s and maintains friendships e a s i l y . N S F A 9 5 . Is valued by others; "belongs to a peer group". N S F A 9 6 . Demonstrates a sense of "connectedness" with people more than with objects. N S F A 9 7 . Understands the meaning of friendship. N S F A 9 8 . Is sensitive to the emotions and needs of others; empathy. N S F A 9 9 . Relies on peers as primary source of a f f i l i a t i o n (sense of belonging). N S F A 1 0 0 . Enjoys interactions with other children. N S F A 1 0 1 . Is comfortable making and executing own decisions/choices. N s F A 1 0 2 . Accepts r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for own actions (does not look to blame others). N s F A 1 0 3 . Sets r e a l i s t i c personal goals. N s F A 1 0 4 . Sees alternatives or other solutions to a problem. N s F A 1 0 5 . Takes pride i n task performance and completion. N s F A 1 0 6 . Puts forth a genuine e f f o r t . N s F A 87 107. Freely expresses own ideas and opinion(s). N S F A 108. Attempts tasks without fear of f a i l u r e or making a mistake. N S F A 109. Perseveres when confronted with a d i f f i c u l t task. N S F A 110. Iden t i f i e s personal strengths. N S F A 111. Identifies personal weaknesses. N S F A 112. Displays good sportsmanship. N S F A 113. Embodies an "I Can" attitude. N S F A 114. Strives for s e l f - d i r e c t i o n and independence. N S F A Adapted from Coopersmith's Behavioral Academic Self-Esteem (BASE), 1979 M. Borba's B-SET (Borba Self-Esteem T a l l y ) , 1989 APPENDIX C A sample of the q u e s t i o n n a i r e used to c o l l e c t i n f o r m a t i o n on t e a c h e r - p e r c e p t i o n s of the v i s u a l l y impaired c h i l d ' s s e l f - e s t e e m i n s c h o o l . TEACHERS' QUESTIONNAIRE  THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED CHILD'S SELF-ESTEEM IN SCHOOL Beside each statement, please c i r c l e the l e t t e r which most c l o s e l y r e f l e c t s your percept ions /es t imat ion about the v i s u a l l y impaired c h i l d se l f -es teem in the c lassroom/schoo l . The Rating Sca le i s as fo l lows: Never (N) Sometimes (S) Frequent ly (F) Always (A) The ch i Id 1. Is genera l ly sure of what i s expected of them. N S F A 2. Copes with change/spontaneity e a s i l y . N S F A 3. Is comfortable with c lose phys ica l con tac t . N S F A 4. Forms t r u s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s e a s i l y . N S F A 5. Is comfortable t r y i n g new exper iences. N S F A 6. Is comfortable with the i r phys ica l appearance. N S F A 7. Is comfortable accepting p r a i s e . N S F A 8. Is accept ing and n o n - c r i t i c a l of o thers . N S F A 9. Does not over - react to c r i t i c i s m or c o r r e c t i o n . N S F A 10. Expresses and i d e n t i f i e s emotions a p p r o p r i a t e l y . N S F A 11. I n i t i a t e s and maintains f r i e n d s h i p s e a s i l y . N s F A 12. Is valued by o thers ; "belongs to a peer group". N S F A 13. Demonstrates a sense of "connectedness" with people more than with o b j e c t s . N S F A 14. Understands the meaning of f r i e n d s h i p . N s F A 15. Is s e n s i t i v e to the emotions and needs of o thers ; empathy. N S F A 16. R e l i e s on peers as primary source of a f f i l i a t i o n (sense of be long ing) . N S F A 17. Enjoys i n t e r a c t i o n s with other c h i l d r e n . N s F A 9 0 18. Is comfortable making and executing own decisions/choices. N S F A 19. Accepts r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for own actions (does not look to blame others). N S F A 20. Sets r e a l i s t i c personal goals. N S F A 21. Sees alternatives or other solutions to a problem. N S F A 22. Takes pride i n task performance and completion. N S F A 23. Puts forth a genuine e f f o r t . N S F A 24. Freely expresses own ideas and opinion(s). N S F A 25. Attempts tasks without fear of f a i l u r e or making a mistake. N S F A 26. Perseveres when confronted with a d i f f i c u l t task. N S F A 27. I d e n t i f i e s personal strengths. N S F A 28. Identifies personal weaknesses. N S F A 29. Displays good sportsmanship. N S F A 30. Embodies an "I Can" attitude. N s F A 31. Strives for s e l f - d i r e c t i o n and independence. N s F A Adapted from Coopersmith's Behavioral Academic Self-Esteem (BASE), 1979 M. Borba's B-SET (Borba Self-Esteem T a l l y ) , 1989 91 APPENDIX D T h i s appendix c o n t a i n s the mothers' responses to open-ended questions p e r t a i n i n g to r e a c t i o n s and adjustment to v i s u a l impairment i n the f a m i l y . 92 Please i n d i c a t e whether your exposure/ experiences with b l i n d and v i s u a l l y impaired persons was p o s i t i v e / n e g a t i v e ; and whether t e l e v i s i o n d e p i c t s " b l i n d n e s s " both f a v o r a b l y and a c c u r a t e l y . Comments p o s i t i v e experience f e e l s t h a t t e l e v i s i o n does not p o r t r a y the whole p i c t u r e . Only c a s t s t o t a l l y b l i n d , never hear of l e g a l l y b l i n d or low v i s i o n persons. t e l e v i s i o n does a good job; honest p o r t r a y a l t e l e v i s i o n p o r t r a y s b l i n d f a v o r a b l y : s t r o n g , independent, courageous people. t e l e v i s i o n p o r t r a y s b l i n d p o s i t i v e l y ; not l e f t f e e l i n g s o r r y or p i t y i n g them. t e l e v i s i o n p o r t r a y s b l i n d too s i m p l i s t i c a l l y . You'd think g e t t i n g around the house was the next best t h i n g to s l i c e d bread! Get Real! p o s i t i v e p o r t r a y a l . With the r i g h t encouragement and p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e , anyone can do whatever they s e t t h e i r mind to do. negative impression: am I ever g l a d I d i d n ' t have to wear g l a s s e s and get teased about having coke b o t t l e eyes. on l y "nerds" wear g l a s s e s on t . v . When my c h i l d f i r s t got g l a s s e s I thought, "oh, no I I've got a nerd f o r a son!". 93 Comments S p e c i f i c to the C h i l d ' s V i s u a l Impairment:  Subject 1 - was okay while I was under the impression t h a t my c h i l d was o n l y l e g a l l y b l i n d i n one eye. I was stunned when I le a r n e d i t was both eyes. - f e l t f r u s t r a t e d : had no idea what I was up a g a i n s t and c o u l d f i n d nothing i n the p u b l i c l i b r a r y about c h i l d r e n and v i s u a l impairment. - f e l t trapped: thought t h a t the CNIB was o n l y f o r the e l d e r l y and white cane u s e r s . Knew nothing of the s e r v i c e s provided through the s c h o o l d i s t r i c t . Very concerned about a b i l i t y to pay f o r s p e c i a l i z e d equipment. - s t i l l have no idea what my c h i l d can a c t u a l l y see 2 - get f r u s t r a t e d and mad about comments made about, and a g a i n s t b l i n d people. 3 - the d i a g n o s i s was a b i t of a shock but we were r e l i e v e d t h at our concerns were f i n a l l y being taken s e r i o u s l y . - f e e l t h a t our c h i l d was used as a guinea p i g (the doctor had never done c a t a r a c t s u r g e r y on a c h i l d before, and he experimented on us; added one more notch to h i s c r e d e n t i a l s a t our c h i l d ' s expense). He goofed on the f i r s t s u r g ery and a second o p e r a t i o n was r e q u i r e d (refused to do the o p e r a t i o n on the second eye). The v i s u a l impairment could have been prevented. 4 - d i d n ' t blame anyone u n t i l I was t o l d t h a t " i t " happened d u r i n g the t h i r d month of pregnancy, then I blamed myself. Sometimes I s t i l l f e e l g u i l t y and wonder what I could have done/not done to prevent i t . "What r e s p o n s i b i l i t y had I had -could have I prevented i t ? " . - has d i f f i c u l t y a c c e p t i n g t h a t the c o n d i t i o n i s h e r e d i t a r y because on l y one brother (maternal) has a s i m i l a r c o n d i t i o n . Parents have had g e n e t i c c o u n s e l l i n g . you have to accept the v i s u a l impairment or the person w i l l never do a n y t h i n g . was t e r r i f i e d t h a t my c h i l d would be b l i n d - once I knew he could see, e v e r y t h i n g was okay. I was j u s t so g r a t e f u l t h a t he could see something. 6 - f e l t a l i t t l e sad, but f i g u r e d we'd handle the cards we were d e a l t - worked on a one year p l a n . - f r u s t r a t e d by ignorance: my c h i l d wears g l a s s e s 5 94 to help her see - l i k e anyone else who wears glasses. 7 - frustrated by others intolerance of c h i l d "touching" things. He is constantly being t o l d , "DON'T TOUCH THAT!" 8 - f e l t so bad - that i t was not f a i r . Never f e l t angry at anyone. - embarrassed by child ' s work habits in school -r e f l e c t i o n on me; makes me fe e l inadequate as a parent. Item # 38: How have your perceptions about "blindness" changed since becoming the parent of a v i s u a l l y impaired child? Comments am much more aware of the whole concept of blindness. Went from perception of "white cane user" to understanding of p a r t i a l l y sighted. I now ask "how blind is blind"? have become more aware; now r e a l i z e that the word 'blind' does not mean t o t a l darkness. am now much more educated and aware of the d i f f e r e n t levels of v i s u a l impairment. More aware of not needing to l i m i t the c h i l d in terms of expectations. do not think of our c h i l d as belonging to the "blind" or sightless world. Child is only v i s u a l l y impa ired. had no rea l perceptions, "out of sight, out of mind". My perceptions have not r e a l l y changed one way or the other. never r e a l l y think about i t . no longer f e e l sorry for blind people - know they are just as capable, simply do things in a d i f f e r e n t way. Want to help but s t i l l have a tendency to overhelp. My volunteer involvement with the CNIB has been invaluable. have learned to accept the s i t u a t i o n , no longer hopeless. I'm learning along with my c h i l d . Subject 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 - perceptions have not changed. 95 How i s your c h i l d ' s b l i n d n e s s p e r c e i v e d by f a m i l y members such as s i b l i n g s , grandparents, aunts/uncles? Comments c h i l d ' s f a t h e r was extremely negative about the d i a g n o s i s , "my c h i l d i s b l i n d , poor me", my f a m i l y was s o r r y , but i t has made no d i f f e r e n c e i n terms of f a m i l y i n t e r a c t i o n s . c h i l d i s c o n s i d e r e d one of the f a m i l y . She i s encouraged to do th i n g s most times; but the f a m i l y sometimes has a tendency to over-do (not v i s i o n r e l a t e d ) . no b i g d e a l . No one l i k e s to see a l i t t l e one wearing g l a s s e s or s t r u g g l i n g with c o n t a c t s , c h i l d not t r e a t e d d i f f e r e n t l y by her s i b l i n g s . c h i l d i s no d i f f e r e n t , "normal", p a t e r n a l grandmother upon r e c e i v i n g the news responded that "we now have a s p e c i a l l i t t l e boy", maternal grandmother continues to be amazed by what the c h i l d can do, sometimes o v e r - p r o t e c t i v e . no one t h i n k s of him as being v i s u a l l y impaired. Family p e r c e i v e s b l i n d n e s s as t o t a l darkness and not low v i s i o n . no one n o t i c e s , unless of course, she i s not wearing her g l a s s e s . o l d e r brother i s extremely p r o t e c t i v e . f e e l f a m i l y members s p o i l the c h i l d and l e t him get away with more than he should. They tend not to d i s c i p l i n e him and use h i s v i s u a l impairment as an excuse not t o . spouse i s more e a s i l y f r u s t r a t e d by c h i l d than I am, but he i s l e a r n i n g to cope. grandparents make more allowances f o r the c h i l d than for other g r a n d c h i l d r e n , but are confused by some of h i s "behaviorisms". For example, h i s need to s i t on top of the t e l e v i s i o n . h i s brother helps him a l o t ; e x p l a i n s t h i n g s to him. 96 Item # 40: How does s o c i e t y r e a c t to your c h i l d ' s " b l i n d n e s s " ? Subject Comments 1 - people n o t i c e the b i f o c a l s - o c c a s i o n a l l y s t a r e , some ask q u e s t i o n s . I welcome q u e s t i o n s ; not an i m p o s i t i o n . I want to be able to o f f e r an e x p l a n a t i o n so that may be one person w i l l be l e s s ignorant about v i s u a l impairment. 2 - we've had people c i r c l e us s t a r i n g a t her. A l l of us have faced c o u n t l e s s c r u e l comments. I welcome d i r e c t questions so t h a t perhaps o p i n i o n s w i l l change with knowledge. People r e a c t to c h i l d ' s p h y s i c a l s t a t u r e , not her v i s i o n . - am sometimes accused of l y i n g about her v i s u a l impairment, "but she sees so w e l l , she can't be b l i n d ! " . - no a d v e r s i v e r e a c t i o n s or comments. - people have asked questions about the t h i c k n e s s of c h i l d ' s g l a s s e s . Most people a s s o c i a t e c a t a r a c t s with aging, not as a c o n d i t i o n of c h i l d h o o d . Do not p e r c e i v e e n q u i r i e s as an i m p o s i t i o n . - some f r i e n d s think we are l y i n g about the c h i l d ' s v i s u a l impairment because he copes so w e l l . "There's nothing wrong with t h a t k i d ! " . - nauseous 6 - people gawk and s t a r e , "Oh, why i s she wearing g l a s s e s a t such a young age?"; "How can you be so c r u e l as to f o r c e her to wear g l a s s e s ? " . - o c c a s i o n a l l y get misplaced sympathy 7 - people i n i t i a l l y f e e l s o r r y and do not understand c h i l d ' s need to touch t h i n g s . - o v e r - p r o t e c t i o n 8 - s t o r e c l e r k s give c h i l d d i r t y looks f o r touching t h i n g s . Makes me f e e l inadequate because they seem to q u e s t i o n my a b i l i t y to c o n t r o l my c h i l d . - f e e l s c h i l d ' s teachers are annoyed by c h i l d ' s q u i r k s . 97 Item # 41: What i s your c h i l d ' s r e a c t i o n to being v i s u a l l y impaired? Subject Comments - doesn't th i n k the c h i l d i s aware of s e e i n g any d i f f e r e n t l y than anyone e l s e . Avoids i d e n t i f y i n g the c h i l d as b l i n d at a l l times, p r e f e r s v i s u a l l y impaired to l e g a l l y b l i n d . - doesn't t h i n k the c h i l d r e a l i z e s what's going on with r e s p e c t to v i s i o n . Has never commented on the f a c t t h a t g l a s s e s are necessary. - does not use as a c r u t c h , but w i l l most l i k e l y experiment a t some p o i n t . Has never been over-heard to comment, "Oh, i f only I c o u l d s e e i " . - c h i l d has picked up on the term " b l i n d " and has used as a c r u t c h . C h i l d r e s e n t s being r e f e r r e d to as b l i n d by others because he knows he can see. - p r e f e r s v i s u a l l y impaired to l e g a l l y b l i n d . - c h i l d unaware t h a t he i s low v i s i o n - mother p r e f e r s i t t h i s way. - b e l i e v e s t h a t the c h i l d accepts her v i s u a l impairment and the n e c e s s i t y of g l a s s e s . When her g l a s s e s f i r s t a r r i v e d she ran around s a y i n g , "look, look, look!". She was f l a b b e r g a s t e d by what she could see. 7 - f e e l s t h a t the c h i l d i s unaware t h a t he i s b l i n d or t hat he sees any d i f f e r e n t l y than other people. - i s bothered by t e a s i n g , being c a l l e d " b l i n d e e " . 8 - i s sometimes f r u s t r a t e d by being able to see on some occasions and unable a t other times. - r e s e n t s being t o l d to s i t back from the t . v . - o c c a s i o n a l l y uses as an excuse - d e t e s t s wearing g l a s s e s 98 Item # 45: If a genie were to grant you one wish, what would you request? Subject Comments 1 - money 2 - method of c o n t r o l l i n g c h i l d ' s weight 3 - c h i l d ' s happiness and f u l l f i l l m e n t 4 - t o be able to pay the b i l l s 5 - $1,000,000 6 - $1,000,000 to buy g r o c e r i e s 7 - that my c h i l d c ould see p e r f e c t l y 8 - t h a t my c h i l d would r e a l l y s t a r t to apply himself to h i s schoolwork. Does not f e e l t h a t " p e r f e c t " v i s i o n would change c h i l d ' s performance i n s c h o o l . Item # 46: I f you had a s i n g l e p i e c e of i n f o r m a t i o n to o f f e r the parents of a r e c e n t l y diagnosed " b l i n d " c h i l d , what would you impart? Subject Comments 1 - count your b l e s s i n g s because there are many people who are worse o f f . 2 - don't think that the news i s the end of the world; there i s always room f o r hope and improvement. 3 - get a second o p i n i o n . Don't a l l o w the d i a g n o s i s to make any b i g changes i n your l i f e . Things co u l d be a l o t worse. 4 - get a second o p i n i o n . I t ' s never as bad as you t h i n k . Y o u ' l l be amazed a t what "they" can do, how "normal" they can be. 5 - i f v i s u a l l y impaired or low v i s i o n , ignore i t -don't worry. 6 take each day a t a time. Avoid f a l s e hope. Be content with what you have. Be p a t i e n t . 99 have a l o t of p a t i e n c e . I t ' s not n e a r l y as bad as i t seems r i g h t now. av o i d t a l k i n g about the v i s u a l impairment i n f r o n t of the c h i l d . Be p a t i e n t . Need to push the c h i l d a b i t harder. 1 0 0 APPENDIX E T h i s appendix c o n t a i n s the c h i l d r e n s ' responses to the four open-ended qu e s t i o n s asked of them d u r i n g t h e i r i n t e r v i e w s . 101 Item # 62: What makes you happy? Subject Comments 1 - having a pet b i r d 2 - being the " h e l p e r " at home - l i s t e n i n g to my taperecorder - p l a y i n g c e n t r e s at sch o o l 3 - when my Mommy k i s s e s and hugs me - when my Daddy p l a y s with me 4 - when my grandparents v i s i t - when Dad buys me toys and Mom buys me new c l o t h e s - when I get to do s p e c i a l t h i n g s 5 - my Mom - my toys 6 - that I get to go camping t h i s summer, and t h a t I was given a choice whether I wanted to go. 7 - when people are n i c e to me - when I get t h i n g s that I l i k e (Nintendo games) 8 - when we go out - when my Mom makes me something Item tt 63: What makes you sad? Subject Comments 1 - when I don't get to go to the w a t e r s l i d e s d u r i n g h o i i d a y s 2 - not being able to go i n t o my s i s t e r ' s and broth e r ' s bedrooms - p l a y i n g by myself - f a l l i n g down 3 - when my mommy spanks me 4 - when people promise to do thi n g s with me, and don't. 5 - people i g n o r i n g me 102 that I have 4 green t i c k e t s . I f I get one more I ' l l miss Sports Day! when my f r i e n d says she won't be my f r i e n d anymore. when nobody i s n i c e to me when my Mom and Dad y e l l a t me and ignore me when people hurt me a l o t t h a t I get y e l l e d at every day What i s i t l i k e to be v i s u a l l y impaired? Comments i t bothers me sometimes, l i k e when I watch t . v . at home or i n s c h o o l , and have to s i t c l o s e r . mad! because I can't see so good f a r away, and have to move c l o s e r , but my brother t e l l s me to move back because I'm too c l o s e to the t.v. embarrassed I get teased and c a l l e d " b i g eyes" fun! I can be alone when I want to be have to wear g l a s s e s and t h a t ' s a bore bad, cause I can't see where I'm going and sometimes bang i n t o t h i n g s l i k e t r e e s . o n l y bugs me when I have to wear the s t u p i d eye patch. I hate the patch! b o r i n g ! I can't p r i n t and have to use s t u p i d b r a i l l e ! when k i d s c a l l me " b l i n d e e " ! i t ' s a hunk of junk! I t ' s so hard to have to remember my g l a s s e s . k i d s tease me and c a l l me "four eyes" can't do l o t s of t h i n g s t h a t other people or my brother can do. E.g. l i k e throwing a rock and being able to see where i t lands. 103 Item # 65: I f you were given one wish i n the whole world, what would you ask f o r ? Subject Comments 1 - $1,000 to go camping 2 - that I co u l d go back to Disneyland 3 - C r i c k e t - t a l k i n g d o l l 4 - a l l the N i n j a T u r t l e s s t u f f 5 - a f i g h t e r j e t 6 - a l i v e hamster 7 - I wish I had l o t s of s t u f f l i k e Nintendo games and people who l i k e me. 8 - that I wouldn't have to wear g l a s s e s 

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