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Activity and strategy

Bridging Back to Build Up

Read about a bridge back plan with an anticipation calendar system while training new staff and allowing a student time and space to rebuild skills.

communication cards with tactile letters and objects for person identification

I work with a student who is congenitally deafblind and who has moved within our district, as well as between districts, multiple times within his educational career. In order to help him develop pre-literacy skills and understand what to anticipate within his day, he uses a daily calendar system. With repeated staff changes and inconsistent attendance, we documented regression in his skills with this system and met as a team to determine the best course of action to increase engagement and participation in his instructional day. Our team decided to bridge back to an anticipation calendar system while training new staff and allowing him the time and space to rebuild his skills. 

After careful observation and discussion with his team, we confirmed that the student is able to engage appropriately with objects within a familiar routine, so we agreed to use a mixture of real objects and tactile symbols. For items and routines which he has demonstrated consistent familiarity and understanding of, we are incorporating a tactile symbol. For new routines and concepts, we will use a real object because it is the most concrete.

Student in wheelchair touching a piece of the communication system with the help of his teacher.

The topic of food is highly motivating for this student.  In order to increase meaningful choice making into his day, his Speech and Language Pathologist and I have created routines centered around food and making snacks. The student is able to anticipate and participate within his snack making routine with minimal assistance. We are beginning to pair tactile symbols  with the corresponding ASL sign, to expand his communication. We hope he will learn the tactile symbol so that he can use it to execute simple recipes, as well as select items to eat or drink during breakfast and lunch.

Food cards for student with tactile symbols to represent peaches, carrots, bread, yogurt, applesauce, peanut butter, apple and orange juice.

We also wished to incorporate literacy into familiar greeting routines with this student’s peers.  Related services and instructional staff wear tactile name symbols and use familiar greeting routines when working with the student. Classmates  have recently created their own tactile name symbols and engaged in structured social interactions during my student’s daily schedule.  

Student standing at table assisted and touching a communication card.
Communication table area with cards and workstation

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