Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Ideas for Helping Students with Multiple Disabilities Including Deafblindness Wear Masks and Face Coverings

Surgical mask

Children with multiple disabilities or deafblindness may be resistant to wearing masks or face coverings when returning to school.  These tips can help to build acceptance of masks.

  • Create an experience book or story box about wearing a mask.
  • Practice wearing the mask for short amounts of time.
  • Participate in highly preferred activities while wearing a mask.
  • Create a mask routine in the morning, after a transition or both.
  • Incorporate a mask into an already established routine.
  • Include the mask in the student/child’s calendar system.
  • If using pictures of staff/others in a calendar system- add pictures of them in masks.
  • Incorporate highly preferred textures into the mask.
  • Allow the student/child to decorate/ make their own mask.
  • Allow the student/child to choose their own mask.
  • Staff working with students should wear similar masks each day to help with identification.
  • Face shields or masks with clear windows for lip reading and facial expressions.
  • Build in mask breaks with reward/choice time.
  • Try different types of masks: ties, elastic, etc.
  • Allow the student/child time to explore the mask without wearing it.


Julie Holland, Teacher at Iowa School for the Deaf created a story box using face masks for her students who are deafblind, shown in the photo below.  Using the book Wearing Masks by L.J. Werner and Ashley Marotta, materials have been collected and placed in a clear plastic tub, including hand sanitizer and different styles of masks.

Items in mask storybox

Let us know what you've tried that has worked for your child or student!

Collage of masks and face coverings

Posted on August 20, 2020
Updated on: August 24, 2020