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Developing Routines

An overview of the importance of developing routines for children who are blind or visually impaired, deafblind or those with multiple disabilities or significant special needs


Routines are an important way to help young children to develop concepts and skills that are the basis of literacy.  Meaningful experiences are a critical foundation to learning.  By structuring activities in a clear and predictable manner, children can learn:

  • an understanding of objects and their functions (e.g. cup, toothbrush, shoe)
  • anticipation
  • sequencing
  • cause and effect
  • attributes such as wet/dry, up/down, soft/hard
  • positional concepts (back/front, above/below)
  • tactile skills
  • eye-hand or hand-hand coordination
  • communication skills

At the most basic level, these routines should be part of the child’s natural activities, including bathing, eating, dressing.  The child should be actively engaged in the steps of the activity, such as helping to turn on the water for the bath, finding the towel and soap, etc.  Learning to identify and gather the objects necessary for the routine helps to make the experience more meaningful.  By following a predictable sequence, the child learns what will happen next and can begin to initiate the next step.  As the child grows and develops, routines can be expanded.

For more information and ideas about routines, see the following:

National Center on Deafblindness

By Millie Smith, TSBVI

Make It Routine
By Robbie Blaha, Teacher Trainer and Kate Moss, Family Training Coordinator, TSBVI
P.S. NEWS!, Vol. IV, No. 3, July 1991, pages 10-12.

Routine-Based Learning
Washington Sensory Disability Services

Activity Routines
By Ann Rash and Nancy Toelle, TSBVI Outreach

Activity Calendars
By Millie Smith, TSBVI

routine collage

Colored illustration of animals with alphabet letters A, B, C, D
Activity and strategy

Alphabet Objects


Ideas for Teaching Tracking and other Tactile Skills

Art drawing of an assortment of Spring flowers

Spring Ideas 2024