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Activity and strategy

What’s In It for Me?

This activity invites students with multiple disabilities or deaf blindness to make choices

In the world of deafblindess, how often have you and I run out of ideas on the types of activities we can share with students who have limited hearing and vision? Here is a simple strategy to engage students. “What’s in it for me” brings in natural curiosity and allows young children to make choices. In this activity, students will be given several objects to touch, smell, etc. that are placed in a small tray that has a one-inch lip. Look for changes in facial expressions and body posture as the children verbally or non-verbally indicate their preferences. Once you have established this, place all the objects in a canvas bag and allow the child to stick their hand in and find the objects tactually that they want. 

  • 1 large canvas bag (like a shopping bag)
  • 1 large tray with one inch lip around the edges
  • several tactile objects such as a ball, play dough, fruit, cloth, etc.
  1. Place all the objects in the tray and allow the child to touch them.
  2. Make notes on which objects are preferred, based on verbal and nonverbal cues.
  3. Allow the child to put the objects in the canvas bag, using hand-under-hand assistance, as needed.
  4. Now have the child stick his or her hand in the bag without looking, and draw out just the objects he or she likes.

Allow the child to play with a favorite toy or to taste a preferred snack that has been chosen from the bag. This is a precursor to choosing items for a specific task, such as picking out a toothbrush instead of a bar of soap, and will go a long way for building future skill sets.

encouraging exploration collage


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