As students who are blind or have low vision prepare to transition to adult life, parents and teachers try to ensure that they have the daily living skills they will need. We often focus on the concrete, measurable skills of daily living, such as skills of meal preparation or money management. However, there are several other less tangible skills that students build as they transition into adulthood. Many of these less tangible skills are the skills that build the foundation for independent living, as well as for success in work or community life.
The activity below is designed to help students who are blind or low vision build skills of responsibility, planning, and problem solving through learning to care for a house plant.
Small house plant
Students should purchase or acquire a small house plant to care for. For students working on decision-making skills, present student with two or three plants to choose from.
Instructors can record basic plant care instructions in large print, braille, or an otherwise accessible format for the student to keep and refer to.
Student finds a good place to keep the plant based on the plant’s need for light. If the student is not able to perceive direct or indirect sunlight, she can ask for assistance from others. Talk with student about places that are generally good places to keep plants.
Using the plant care reference information, the student can determine how often the plant needs to be watered. She can set reminders for herself to water the plant using a calendar or her preferred mode of technology.
Help student to come up with a way to measure the proper amount of water for the plant (e.g. a measuring cup, Dixie cup, coffee mug).
Provide guidance to student over time about problem solving. How do you know how much water the plant needs? How do you know if a plant isn’t doing well? How can you address this?
This can easily be made into a group activity to work on social skills in addition to skills of responsibility. Two or more students can share in the responsibility of caring for the plant. This can address skills related to communication, cooperation, turn-taking, sharing, organization, and commitment.
For students with more advanced skills, ask them to do their own research on plant care instructions, rather than providing them with this information. This will allow the student to work on compensatory and assistive technology skills.
This activity can be broken down to address specific skills to meet a student’s unique needs. Among other things, students can use this activity to learn about asking for assistance, measuring and pouring, using a calendar, and following directions.