Developing Emotional
Dr. Gail Bailey, Child Psychology
Consultant, RNIB Independence
Conference 2013
Our role in removing
Barriers to emotional competence need
to be removed just as any other
barriers to participating in the
This will help with accessing help and to
from there onto developing selfregulation, confidence and
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
2. Avoid making assumptions and direct
3. Focusing on what one CAN do
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)
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
Shared understanding and theory of mind are
important elements in socialisation (see
Webster and Roe, 1999; Rodney, 2003).
Develop Emotional Intelligence
I Perceiving Emotions
II Using emotions to facilitate thought
III Understanding emotions
IV Managing Emotions
(Salovey and Sluyter 1997)
EL Barriers for the Child
with VI
The perception of emotions is
fundamental to the development of
thought, language and the
management of feelings.
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
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
- 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.
Key point: managing
-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
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
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.
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:
Webster A & Roe J, 1998. Children with
Visual Impairments: Social Interaction,
Language and Learning. London: Routledge.

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