Having worked with student with cortical visual impairments and multiple disabilities for many years I often wanted to share a literary experience with my children. The love of a good story and the residual learning that occurs with the pleasure of the literacy experience does not need to be limited to the print or braille reader. Children with multiple disabilities including CVI can experience the pleasure and excitement of a story through senses other than print or Braille. The selected literature can be the base for an auditory, tactual and visual experience.
A fun story can easily be adapted to a multi-sensory experience with some pre-planning. Youtube has made music and visual video a quick an easy tool to find complementary music to go along with your story. Tactual activities are also available from many resources.
We love to make this a small group experience. Many times the more multiple impaired an individual is the less opportunity they are given to participate in a group experience. Sharing the book with a group is also a valuable experience.
The On the Way to Literacy Series available from American Printing House For the Blind are a great place to start. These stories are well developed and already have a tactile and motivating visual element. Basic concepts fit neatly into the story.
- On the Way to Literacy Series; available for American Printing House for the Blind, e.g. Bumpy Rolls Away, Blue Balloon
- iPad with internet access for YouTube Videos or song choices.
- Tactile prompts ex., basketball, helium balloon, balloons, various balls, colored shapes
- Arrange students into a semi-circle around the presenter.
- Provide several copies of the On the Way to Literacy choice.
- Give children with the ability the chance to turn the pages.
- Preview concept you wish to focus on ("Ba" sound, color blue, shapes, up, down , rolling etc.)
- Read the story, allowing participation in as many methods as possible, turning pages, tactile touching, hand over hand practice of concept, such as up and down and visual scanning.
- Reinforce concepts with music from the iPad with YouTube videos or a song lead by teacher.
- Perform a tactile activity that allows for making choices, eg. choosing shapes or colors.
- Brief verbal or performance assessment, "What did it feel like?, What sound did it make? etc.
- Introduce the next story you will explore. "We will learn more about the sound, color shape we learned today with our next story." The sound "Ba", the color blue and circular shape are common themes in several of the On the Way to Literacy books.
Using the On the Way to Literacy series, many themes to develop basic concepts are possible. Be open to helping the child learn the story in the method that is best for them. The key element is to find the method that allows the child to enjoy the story. Every child should have a chance to enjoy a good story.