Developing Emotional Competence Dr. Gail Bailey, Child Psychology Consultant, RNIB Independence Conference 2013 Our role in removing barriers… Barriers to emotional competence need to be removed just as any other barriers to participating in the curriculum. This will help with accessing help and to from there onto developing selfregulation, confidence and independence. Emotional Competence Important For… 1. Personal Management and Self-care (includes knowledge about one’s eye condition and implications for self and others and Personal Appearance and VI) 2. Daily living skills, organisation, orientation and mobility. 3. Career education 4. Social interaction and Leisure activities 3 Top Tips Removal of barriers to emotional literacy 2. Avoid making assumptions and direct questions 3. Focusing on what one CAN do 1. Top Tip 1: Emotional Literacy: a definition ‘… the ability to understand ourselves and other people, and in particular, to be aware of , understand and use information about the emotional states of ourselves and others with competence. It includes the ability to understand, express and manage our own emotions, and to respond to the emotions of others, in ways that are helpful to ourselves and others.’ ( p.2 Weare,2004) 5 Family, Friends and Feedback: social inclusion Social skills training –issue of generalisation has recently been recognised. (See Bailey for resources 2009). Parents have a crucial role in the integration of feedback to the young child who is learning to recognise and express emotions and to develop empathy. The peer group become an important influencing factor later on. Shared understanding and theory of mind are important elements in socialisation (see Webster and Roe, 1999; Rodney, 2003). 6 Develop Emotional Intelligence I Perceiving Emotions II Using emotions to facilitate thought III Understanding emotions IV Managing Emotions (Salovey and Sluyter 1997) 7 EL Barriers for the Child with VI The perception of emotions is fundamental to the development of thought, language and the management of feelings. 8 Eye contact We may assume low levels of self-confidence when we meet an adolescent who will not give eye contact. Someone with central loss of vision is unlikely to be able to present eye contact and therefore inadvertently court suspicion or concern on the part of others. The peer group may even reject the child with VI for these reasons. Work supporting this difficulty with social development indicates reduced opportunities for social interaction because of the reactions of others to individuals with disabilities (e.g. Hodges and Keller, 1999; Rosenblum, 1998). Key Point: Perceiving Emotions Caregivers can help to provide feedback to the young child about the emotional world of themselves and others by audio-describing emotions attached to events e.g. grandma sounds pleased – listen …. You can show your friend you are happy by smiling or telling them how pleased you are… Key point: using emotions to develop thought Label feelings- develop a feelings vocabulary. A child needs to learn how to express their feelings verbally to make their needs known to others, prepare them for counseling etc Discuss the consequences of feelings Kay point: understanding emotions - By encouraging the child’s understanding of outcomes related to emotions using a feelings vocabulary, one can open up options and choices in how to manage their own feelings. For example, if a child is getting ‘butterflies in their tummy’, they can identify that they are feeling anxious or worried about something and choose to do something about it rather than letting it get out of control. 12 Key point: managing emotions -Once a child is able to recognise and express emotions, they can learn a range of coping strategies. For example if they can recognise that they are getting cross or frustrated with a task, they can ask for help or choose a different way of accessing a task or take an ‘eye break’. Top Tip 2 Encourage parents, friends, teachers, TAs to avoid direct q s such as Do you need help? This invites yews/no answers which at best lead to permission to intervene but with mainly assumptions being made about how much or what type of help is required. At worse they’ll just say no as they don’t want to be singled out. Instead ask open-ended Qs such as: How Can I help? That way the child will give you more insight into what they can /cannot do and you’ll avoid assumptions leading to dependence/ loss of confidence. Top Tip 3 Focus on capability- this will enhance self-efficacy and confidence. Accept what you cannot do and focus on what you CAN do. Develop a sense of identity by recognising and developing strengths. Practice self-advocacy skills for transition points and interviews etc References Bailey, G. (2009) ‘What Can You See?’ Supporting the social development of young people who are blind or partially sighted. Cardiff: RNIB Cymru. Bailey, G. (2011) A Positive Exploration of the Emotional Well-being of Children and Young People With Visual Impairments. Unpublished doctoral thesis UCL 2011 References Robinson BL & Lieberman LJ, 2004. Effects of Visual Impairment, Gender and Age on Self-determination. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, (98) 351–366. Rodney P, 2003. The psychological aspect of visual impairment as a central understanding in the development of inclusion. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 21 (1), 19–24. References Salovey, P. and Sluyter, D.J. (1997) Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: educational implications. New York; Basic Books. Weare, K. (2004) Developing the Emotionally Literate School London: Sage. References Webster A & Roe J, 1998. Children with Visual Impairments: Social Interaction, Language and Learning. London: Routledge.