Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Forest Walk Meditation

Nice samples of meditations for verbal students were shared from the CDs Rainbow Walk and Relax.  Students who enjoyed them were asked to create their own.  After listening to a very peaceful Beach Story, one group wanted to create a beach story for students who were blind that focused only on the smells, the feel of the wind and sand, and the sound of the ocean, rather than the visual references in the original meditation.  Another student said that she preferred the forest, and her forest meditation is shown here.  This student has autism, and her challenges are in self-regulation and in connecting to others.  She was able to address both of these by building a partner into the meditation (leaning back-to-back against her partner, the “tree trunk”), and by sharing the meditation with her class.  

Background

Katrina is an 18-year-old student who has very low vision due to Leber Congenital Amaurosis, and also has high functioning autism.

Katrina’s Forest Meditation

Imagine you are in the forest.  You sit under a tall tree and lean your back against the trunk. Trust the tree trunk to hold you up and relax against it. Take a deep breath and smell the pine trees in the forest. Listen and hear the wind rustling through the pines. Feel grass beneath you like a warm bed.  Stay very still and keep breathing, listening and feeling.  Breathe, Listen, Feel. Breathe.  listen, feel.  Sometimes when you breathe you can smell flowers starting to bloom, and sometimes when you listen, you can hear birds chirping to each other.  Sometimes when you feel with your fingertips, you find ferns and moss, soft as a blanket.  Breathe, listen, feel. Breathe Listen Feel. Breathe, Listen, Feel.  Turn and put your hand on the tree trunk’s shoulder, Pull yourself up and continue your walk in the forest. 

Our thoughts on ways in which the Six Essential Components were incorporated:

Six Essential Components

Examples in the Video

  1. Builds on student’s strengths and interest, opportunity for choice-making
  • Student chose the forest as the location rather than the beach.
  1. Includes peers in the interaction
  • Ultimately she shared her meditation with her class.
  1. Creates an atmosphere of play (social and/or symbolic) with modeling and encouragement
  • She pretends her teacher is the “tree” she leans against, that the carpet is moss and grass, that she hears birds singing and that she smells pine trees
  1. Provides a context for activity through predictable routines, consistent and accessible locations, adequate space for enactment and story creation
  • The activity is based on the mantras she has learned previously
  • There is plenty of room to “take a walk” before sitting against the “tree”
  1. Includes the use of props and actions and physical enactment
  • Her partner (in this case the teacher) is used as “the tree”
  • She leans against the “tree”, feels the carpeted floor which represents the forest floor
  1. Adult is flexible and supportive (acknowledging, accepting, expanding on participant input) and provides scaffolding between highly directive and participatory role and non-directive encourager and scribe.
  • Her teacher is only supporting the students activity by being a guide as they walk and becoming the “tree”
  • This is a very non-directive role for the teacher.

Return to Playing with Words Introduction and Essential Components.