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Activity and strategy

Object Symbols for Choice Making

In this activity, real objects are paired with object symbols to build an understanding of symbolic representation.

This activity is designed for students with multiple disabilities who are non-readers.  An object is paired with each book, so that the student will begin to associate the two.  As the student begins to recognize the symbol, she can request a specific book title or song.



  • simple picture books (it’s best to choose something that is easily represented by a real object)
  • small stuffed animals or toys to represent book
  • boxes or containers in solid colors, such as APH expandable calendar boxes
  1. Familiarize student to object by presenting it prior to each time the book is read.  This may take quite some time.
  2. Choose books that you know the child prefers.
  3. Present a choice of two objects and ask the student to select one.  This can be done through eye gaze, swipe or any intentional communication or movement.
  4. Read the story while showing the student the object.
  5. Put the object in the “finished” box to show that the story is over.
  6. Repeat.
  • Any type of container or solid background will work, including a basket or bookstand or box with good contrast.
  • Students with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) may prefer objects that are a particular color, such as red or yellow.  They may be more interested if the object is their preferred color.…

Student making orange juice with a teacher using a juicing machine.
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