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COUNSELLING NEEDS OF THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED STUDENTS IN IMO STATE

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COUN NEEDS OF THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED TS IN IMO

 

CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Education is an indispensable medium of bringing about the development of citizens either normal or handicapped. The wealth, strength, social and economic wellbeing of a nation is direct consequence of its technological advancement and development of humanities (Umoru, 2005).

Education is a pivot on which the nation’s development rotates. It is the concern of government to provide education to all her citizens without discrimination on grounds of disability, gender, religion, tribe, socio- economic background or otherwise (Omede, 2009).

Visual impairment is a term that is used to describe all problems involving effective use of the human eye. The World Health Organization () estimated that 19 million children are visually-impaired worldwide. Twelve (12) million children out of these numbers are visually-impaired due to refractive errors. Regrettably, 1.4 million children are irreversibly blind for the rest of their lives.

All children go through different developmental stages that create for them opportunities and obstacles. However, the visually-impaired face additional challenges while they progress through their childhood years. Students with visual impairments in regular secondary schools and classrooms are faced with many challenges which affect their academic pursuit.

Counseling is a professional assistance given by a counselor to an individual or group of individuals who are either able or disabled for the purpose of understanding their conflicting areas of life better, detecting alternative solution to problems and living a fulfilled life (Idowu&Esere, ).

Shertzer and Stone (1980) stated that counseling facilitates meaningful understanding of self and environment as it results in the establishment and/or clarification of goals and values for future behavior. One of the objectives of counseling, as stipulated by Uba (2009), is to help an individual to clear every defeating condition so that he can be what he really wants to be in other to contribute more to self and others.

Further, counseling gives the client an opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways of living meaningfully towards greater well-being. It enhances the ability of the client to cope with life conditions that are not easy to change (Uba, 2009).

Counseling is about the only thing that can enhance the client’s ability to make appropriate life decisions in a situation of visual impairment. Counseling helps the individual to develop the ability to set realistic goals for himself and improve his total being (Idowu & Esere, ).

Through counseling the individual is brought to a position of thorough understanding of himself to make an appropriate vocational choice based on his interest, aptitude and talent. It is important to note that most students with visual impairments find it difficult to adjust to school life. This is probably because of the complex school environment they find themselves in.

The school as a social circle is full of interactions: student-student, student-teacher, and teacher-teacher. Therefore, students are expected to participate fully in these circles of interaction. Those who are unable to interact in a socially acceptable way in the school environment often experience some challenges, such as self-management, problem solving, lack of information, and dependence (Idiong, 2010).

Educating persons with visual impairment is problematic. This is because an individual with visual impairment is confronted with a number of challenges ranging from participation in social activities, locomotion, and education to mention a few. It is more expensive to educate children with visual impairment than their sighted peers.

This is as a result of high cost of equipment and materials used in educating them (Chukuka, 2009). The author explains further that the cost of braille machines, type writers, moving to and from the school, church, mosque and other places of importance is definitely higher for children with visual impairment than the sighted children, since they have need for a companion most of the time.

Obani (2004) affirmed that a child with physical disability such as blindness may not be able to move around easily and may have to be carried for a longer time than a non-disabled child. Unlike sighted children who can easily learn so many things merely by observing and imitating, the child with visual impairment will need to be guided and supervised when learning so many concepts, thus requiring more time to be cared for.

Research has shown that loss of vision is associated with difficulties in performing basic activities of daily living, functional and educational activities thereby reducing the welfare state of the individual. In accordance with this, special educators, guidance counselor, psychologists and allied specialists should work in collaboration in ensuring the provision of equality education and counseling services for persons with visual impairment.

Students with visual impairment receive special education and related services in a variety of settings that bring them into contact with a range of personnel (Susan and Kay, 2005). With educational attainment this group of persons can live up to societal expectation and contribute their quota to national development. Career choice is a critical issue in every learner’s life.

The choice of career for an individual is as important as the choice of a life partner in marriage. This is because, like marriage, a person lives with his chosen career for a life time and changing it will require the individual to start learning the ropes afresh-a task that is practically unenviable.

 

MENT OF THE PROBLEM

Visual impairment is defined as a functional limitation of the eye(s) or visual system and can manifest as reduced visual acuity or contrast sensitivity, visual field loss, photophobia, diplopia, visual distortion, visual perceptual difficulties, or any combination of the above.

These functional limitations can result from congenital (e.g., prenatal or postnatal trauma, genetic or developmental abnormalities), hereditary (e.g., retinitis pigmentosa or Stargardt’s macular degeneration), or acquired conditions (e.g., ocular infection or disease, trauma, age-related changes, or systemic disease).

A visual impairment can cause disability (ies) by significantly interfering with one’s ability to function independently, to perform activities of daily living, and/or to travel safely through the environment.  Specific problems include,

but are not limited to, loss of the ability to read standard-sized print, inability or limitation with respect to driving, difficulty performing work-related tasks or leisure activities, and/or inability to recognize faces of familiar people. When these disabilities limit personal or socioeconomic independence, a visual handicap exists

As a special educator, educational administrator, civil society group advancing the cause of persons with visual impairment or even a relative of persons with visual impairment, know-how on effective counseling in all area of life especially as regards their education may turn out be the best contribution one can make to their life.

This is because for persons with visual impairment, the issue of learning and career choice is difficult and must be handled with professionalism especially in the area of counseling for reasons that this paper will seek to explore.

More so, Students with visual impairments cannot move around as they wish, but have to rely on others wholly or partly to be able to move around and understand positions in the environment. They are deficient in physical skills and general physical condition because of restricted mobility.

Therefore, exploration is restricted; and when one cannot explore one’s environment appropriately especially the school, one is likely to have limited horizon. If such students are isolated from the environment, it will drastically reduce their chances for stimulation and interaction and can also affect them psychologically (Okeke, 2001).

It will also affect the physical coordination of such students; this can be seen in the awkward manner in which some students with profound or severe visual loss carry their weight while walking (Ugwoke, 1992; Hoover, 2003).

Students with visual impairment try to develop different strategies in order to cope with these challenges. Jacob (2011) identified some coping strategies commonly employed by students with visual impairments. These include: acceptance, trust, positive avoidance, minimization, independence and control.

Students with visual impairments use these coping strategies and resources to help themselves adapt to the environmental demands. These strategies play a key in determining the nature and extent of the impact of impairment.

However without proper counseling, these listed strategies employed by most impaired students will not be effectively utilized or achieved. Hence the need for this study to examine the counseling needs of the visually impaired students.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The main aim of the study is to examine counseling needs of the visually impaired students. Other specific objectives include:

1. to ascertain whether counseling needs is important to the visually impaired students in Imo State.

2. to examine counseling needs of the visually impaired students in Imo State.

3. to identify best counseling methods on visually impaired students in Imo State.

4. to investigate the impact of counseling on the academics of visually impaired students in Imo State.

5. to investigate the challenges, counseling needs, and coping strategies of students with visual impairment in Imo State.

6. to proffer solution to the challenges, counseling needs, and coping strategies of students with visual impairment in Imo State.

RESEARCH QUESTION

1. What is the importance of counseling needs to the visually impaired students in Imo State?

2. What are the counseling needs for the visually impaired students in Imo State?

3. What are the best counseling methods for visually impaired students in Imo State?

4. What is the impact of counseling on the academics of visually impaired students in Imo State?

5. What are the challenges, counseling needs, and coping strategies of students with visual impairment in Imo State?

6. What is solution to the challenges, counseling needs, and coping strategies of students with visual impairment in Imo State?

MENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

1. H0: there is no significant improvement on the performance of visually impaired since the inception of counseling.

2. H1: there is significant improvement on the performance of visually impaired since the inception of counseling.

OF STUDY

The study will be useful to educators, lecturers and students alike on the importance of counseling to visually impaired students.

The findings of this study will contribute immensely to the performance of visually impaired students because it will serve as a guide to their daily living and even in schools. They already see life as been unfair to them, this is where counseling comes in to change their perception about life and what they can achieve even though visually impaired.

The study will also be of importance to counselors because they will understand the extent of impact they make on those impaired students as well as best methods of counseling them to achieve the desired aim. They need counseling to understand their emotions, clear their doubts and conflicts; they need someone to share their special experiences and feelings. In such cases counseling can help students to assess their abilities, interests, and needs and find solutions to personal social adjustments at their schools and homes which is part of the significant of this study.

From this study, it will be known that to be visually impaired does not limit you as an individual or make you less of a human and your counterpart you have same right to live as a normal human being and achieve your goals irrespective of your visual condition.

Finally, the study will serve as research tool for further research by other researchers who intend to investigate further on the study or related study.

SCOPE OF STUDY

The scope of study will cover counseling needs of the visually impaired students in Imo State.

LIMITATION OF STUDY

1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Counseling: “Counseling is a specific process of assistance extended by an expert in an individual situation to a needy person”. This means the counseling situation arises when a needy person is face to face with and expert who makes available his assistance to the needy individual to fulfill his needs.

Needs: of necessity

Visually impaired students: Visual impairment, also known as vision impairment or vision loss, is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses

 

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COUN NEEDS OF THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED TS IN IMO

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