Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Independence in the Kitchen: Braille Your World

My son Liam is 6 years old (almost 7!!) and he is deafblind.  He enjoys helping me around the house.  One of his chores is to unload the dishwasher (see Accessible Job Chart for the Home).  When he first started helping with this, he was able to put away only a few dishes independently.  By making some changes and accommodations, Liam is now able to be to do many of the steps in putting away the dishes all by himself.  In addition to working on braille literacy, these changes in the kitchen have helped to address the Independent Living Skills area of the Expanded Core Curriculum.
 
A young boy empties the dishawasherYoung boy carrying pots and pans
In these photos, 6-year-old Liam carries plates and pans from the dishwasher to put them away.
 
 

Making Storage Accessible

At first a lot of the dishes we used daily were stored in cupboards that were high up.  As a result, Liam was not able to reach them independently.   This weekend I switched the cupboards around so that the dishes we use on a daily basis are at Liam's level and he can easily put them away by himself.  Storing items where a child can easily reach them promotes accessibility and independence.  See also:  Making Storage Accessible.
 
Cabinet at low levelA young boy puts plastic cups away in a cabinet
 
 
Finding braille labels on shelves
 
 

Organizing Items By Category

I added bins to organize the dishes for both of my sons (their drinking cups, plates, snack bowls, school lunch box dishes, etc.) to make it easier for Liam to sort.  
 
Stacked plastic containersCups and lids

 

Adding Braille Labels

OF COURSE I added braille labels to both the cupboard shelves and the bins for Liam to read!
 
Plates with braille labelCups with braille labels
 
This will help him to be able to set the table at dinner time more independently as well. smiley  
 
 
Reading braille labels on silverware sorter
Reading braille labels on a shelf
 
He has been very excited to see his kitchen organized with braille :-) He has shown everyone that has come over to our house!
 

Variations:

  • Labels could be placed on the outside of the cupboards as well as the inside
  • Dividers could be placed in the cupboards instead of bins or do not need to be used at all, as stacks would work fine.  
 

For more posts like this, see also:

Creating a Braille-Rich Environment at Home

Using Braille in the Kitchen

collage of Independence in the Kitchen

 


 

Comments

Braille reading for young kids

Posted by T Miller

I love this post about Liam, seeing him work around the kitchen is very encouraging. I find it very challenging to find ways in order to apply appropriate braille activities for kids that are younger such as Liam. Most braille readers Liam’s age are not strong braille readers yet. Reading this post just helped me realize that we can still encourage braille reading by getting the kid involved in things they do everyday such as helping in the kitchen. Braille labels on items the kids use every day is not only a great way for them to easily find things but they also are reading, and at the same time they are putting that word with a physical object which help them identify the word and not just read it. I also love how this helps them become more independent. Braille indeed helps develop literacy, likewise does the opportunity to make choices. By moving those dishes to a place where Liam could reach them, opens the door for him to make choices of his own. What may seem so simple, really helps develop many areas from braille, daily living, literacy, and most importantly independence.   

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