OBVI: Adjusting to Vision Loss - Phase Five: Reassessment and Reaffirmation
This is the "life is still worth living" phase. Sometimes called "the turning point," the reevaluation that takes place in this phase can lead to a reaffirmation of life and its possibilities.
One of the issues that is resolved during this phase is the question of self-identity. If an individual attempts to function "as if" he could see, he will continue to experience uncomfortable discrepancies in life. This "denial can also take a passive form in which the individual verbalizes acceptance of the vision loss but does nothing to adjust to it" (Dover, 336).
A much more positive situation arises when the individual recognizes himself as essentially the same person as before the trauma, with the majority of personal attributes intact.
The person realizes, however, that they have to deal with things differently now. The reassessment phase also involves the process of determining the individual's strengths and limitations.
The Role of Professionals
The support network of family and professionals continues to play an important part during the Reassessment and Reaffirmation phase. The professional has the responsibility to help foster a positive frame of mind. Encouraging a positive outlook can be accomplished by setting a positive example and through discussion, as well as allowing the individual to experience success in training.
With respect to the reality of blindness and its implications, OBVI staff provide frank, factual information about the person's condition and prognosis when asked. This aspect of providing realistic feedback must be done without any hint of patronizing or condescension. The fact of vision loss has to be confronted and accepted before any further adjusting can occur.
During this phase of the adjustment process, OBVI staff can:
- assist the individual to cope with his social and physical environment (or where necessary, to restructure it);
- help establish realistic attainable goals and gain insights into his own strengths and desires;
- clarify attitudes and feelings; and
- help determine the motivational factors that contribute to the adjusting process.