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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


MASHELE, Ntsakiseni  and  SMIT, Neeltjé. Comparing the effect of different living environments on the development of independent living skills in children with visual impairment. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2011, vol.41, n.3, pp.79-84. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised visual impairments in children as deserving priority treatment and intervention. Research indicated that caregivers play an important role in the development of independence in children with visual impairments. This study aimed to compare the independent living skills of children with visual impairments who resided in a school residence designed for children with visual impairments with those who lived at home. METHODS: A descriptive study, comprising both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, was implemented. A convenient sample was used and data collection was by means of the Paediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) and semi-structured interviews. RESULTS: Results on the PEDI yielded no significant difference on all the measured scales in the living environments between those living at home or in a residence. However, from the qualitative data four themes concerning independent functioning emerged, namely familiarity; adaptations; resources; and personal factors. CONCLUSION: The importance of the environment for children with visual impairments, especially concerning familiarity (of the layout of the environment and the people within the environment) and making adaptations should be given more attention during the phase of independence development and should be incorporated in informing and training of caregivers.

Keywords : Activities of daily living; Independent living skills; Living environment; Visual impairments.

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