By: Carmen Willings
Since listening skills will be a major source of information for a student who is blind or visually impaired, it is important to develop good listening skills when the child is young. It is also important to continue to build on those skills as the student progresses through grades.
Assist the student in developing their auditory skills by encouraging them to do the following:
Encourage the student to reach for, move toward, and locate a noise stimulus. Choose toys or sound producers that are age appropriate. At first a toy can be placed just outside the students reach. If encouraging a student to walk, a toy or ipod or other sound producing item can be placed in a location within the room. Make it a game that the student must find the noise source. Place it next to tokens or "rewards" (this can be tangible or simply praise) that the student receives each time they locate the sound.
Encourage the student to respond to auditory directions regarding safety (e.g., stop!). This can be practiced during games as well as during transitions, but it is very important that the student understands and responds to safety words especially if they are to travel independently on foot or in wheelchair (for their own safety and the safety of others).
Encourage the student to identify and label a variety of environmental sounds. Although animal sounds is a favorite in preschool toys, their are many other important environmental signs that a student needs to learn. This is particularly important for students who are relying on auditory cues to orient themselves to their environment.
There are some commercially available games such as sound lotto that include a range of environmental sounds as well as children's apps. You can create your own sound matching game by recording sounds from the students environment and also from field trips (animals, musical instruments, emergency, balls bouncing, pencil sharpener, door bell, toilet flushing, etc.).
Encourage the student to place their body in relationship to a sound. This skill can is a functional skill for orientation and mobility and for safety as well. It can be practiced in fun ways by making a game of pointing to a sound source, pointing and tracking a moving sound source and turning their body in relationship to the source. Just as you would do in a game of Simon Says or change the words to a fun song. Put your back to the "sound", "put the sound on your right", etc.
Once the student has developed basic auditory and listening skills, help the student to begin deriving meaning from the sounds. Encourage the student to:
Play back the sounds that were recorded throughout the room, school, neighborhood or field trip in the community and challenge the student to recall what created the sound and where that sound can be heard. Extend the activity by encouraging the student to identify if the sound was loud, moderate or soft in it's intensity.
I absolutely HATE the "guess who this is" game that many adults seem drawn to "play" with students who are blind. It usually goes something like, "Hi, Mary, guess who this is???" What a horrible way to put someone on the spot. Please know that this is NOT what I am referring to when I suggest that students should be encouraged to identify familiar voices. Students should be encouraged to identify familiar voices - not those they have only met a couple of times or have infrequent contact with (Refer to etiquette) but those they have daily or regular interactions with.
Learning to Listen/Listening to Learn by Lizbeth A Barclay is published by the American Foundation for the Blind. This text provides a systematic development of skills in listening for and interpreting auditory information. Barclay discusses instruction in listening skills at different ages and it includes a continuum chart and a checklist to use in assessment.
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TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC: An Activities Based Curriculum for Teaching Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Written specifically for fellow itinerant Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI’s), this book consists of over 400 activities and topic areas of discussion for instructing students in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The activities are age-neutral and multi-sensory and therefore can meet the needs of the broad range of students served on an itinerant caseload serving. The activities can be individualized to the students various learning modalities and scaffold in order to challenge students but ensure success. Select those activities that align with the student’s learning objects based on the student’s unique visual needs and academic and developmental level.
The core activities listed in the Activity section can be adapted to each thematic unit. These include:
In addition to the core activity areas, each of the 32 Thematic Units incorporates additional unique ECC concepts and skills providing you with a years’ worth of activities. These units are cyclical and can be used repeatedly to help students build on prior knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Each unit includes suggestions for activity adaptation associated with the unit. These include lists of objects, possible community based experiences, environmental print, poems, children & young reader books, children's songs, pop culture songs, movies, and websites.
Unique Concepts within the Units include:
Although the intended audience of this resource is fellow Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, special education teachers may find these activities beneficial to the students in their classrooms as the activities are multisensory and include life skills and concepts needed by all students. This resource, however, is not intended to take the place of a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TVI). Readers are advised to consult their own TVI’s regarding instruction in the ECC and the unique visual needs of the student’s served in their programs.
Note: This curriculum is a digital pdf download. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number.
Each download is intended for single instructor use per copyright. Thank you for helping me preserve the content and not distributing copies to third parties.
Digital pdf download: 364 pages (11 pt font)
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings
Visual Efficiency & Magnifier Fluency Grab & Go ECC Supplements
This workbook is a pdf download that can be printed on demand for use with students. It contains five different types of worksheets for developing visual motor skills and near magnifier fluency skills particularly with the use of a video magnifier. As a supplement to the TVI’s Guide to the ECC, the worksheets correspond to each of the 32 ECC Thematic units. The worksheets, along with a list of environmental print for each thematic unit, are designed to help students refine their visual motor skills while reinforcing ECC concepts presented in the thematic units.
Visual Efficiency & Near Magnifier Fluency Worksheet Details:
Digital pdf download: 210 pages
Publisher: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Author: Carmen Willings