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Activity and strategy

Understanding Photos and Using Them to Communicate

Teaching students with visual impairments and additional disabilities to use photos to communicate

This lesson is designed to teach students with visual impairments to demonstrate an understanding of photos and to use them to communicate.
A specific student objective might say:  “By June 2015, Student “A” will choose a two-dimensional photo of a preferred food item to eat 5 out of 10 attempts.”
  • Able to eat, and enjoys eating.
  • Student demonstrates food preferences.
  • Can identify actual 3 dimensional preferred food items. 

photos of puffs, cheetos, and a water bottle

  • Black velcro 3 in 1 board
  • Black rubber mat
  • 4×6 matt photos of preferred and non-preferred foods including; plastic bottle of milk, Cheetos, applesauce and Trix cereal
  • Initially take close up photos of foods that are presented on a black background. Mount these individually on a black, heavy stock cardboard with the hook portion of Velcro on the back.
  • Present one food item at a time to the student, allowing him to eat a small portion of it.
  • Repeat the above step, but at the same time present the photo of the food item on the black Velcro.
  • Talk about the photo, naming the item. Sign if necessary.
  • Ask him if he wants more, if he cannot speak, demonstrate signing “more” by using the “hand-under-hand” technique.
  • Repeat introducing each food item by showing the 3 dimensional item and pairing it with the 2 dimensional.
  • Assist the student in trading the photo for the food item. 
  • Utilize a red bin as the “All Done” box. 
  • When the food item is gone, have the student put the photo into the “All Done” box. Say and or sign “All Done”.
  • As the student learns to identify the photos add to the array.
  • Include foils of non-preferred foods.
  • If the student clearly indicates that he doesn’t want a particular food, assist him (using hand under hand technique) in putting that food item into the ”All Done” box. Again say or sign ‘All Done”.
  • Put 3 in 1 Board on black rubberized mat to avoid slipping of the board.
  • Put black screen next to student who is sitting in front of 3 in one board to eliminate distraction from others moving about in the classroom.


Domain Math:


Math Standard:

K.G.A.3 – Identify and describe shapes. – Identify shapes as two-dimensional (lying in a plane, “flat”) or three-dimensional (“solid”).

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