Adaptation to loss of visual function: implications for rehabilitation on subtle nuances of communication

Patrick Okonji, Catherine Bailey, Monique Lhussier, Mima Cattan

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Abstract

Lack of access to visual cues can cause challenges and sometimes make social interaction difficult for many visually impaired persons in face-to-face situations. The loss of vision, therefore, demands adjustments––not only for the individual’s adaptation with sight loss for independent living but also for communication. While recognizing that older adults with vision impairment face challenges when communicating with others due to inability to perceive visual cues, this study examines the challenges and opportunities presented to them when using a computer to communicate with others. The study employed a case study approach, conducting semi-structured interviews with 20 visually impaired older adults aged 60–87 years. Findings suggest that the lack of visual cues in text-based computer-mediated communications (CMCs) supported their daily social communication. The paper discussed how, within online communication, people with vision impairment compensate for sight loss through CMC. Implications of findings for broader issues that may steer the use of Information communication technologies among visually impaired older people are discussed. This paper adds novel understanding to the field of CMC, in highlighting the need for more attentive rehabilitation than the need for circumventing face-to-face interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages18
JournalActivities, Adaptation and Aging
Volume43
Issue number3
Early online date18 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

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