Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fire Safety

Have you ever done a lesson on fire safety with your child? I have recently thought about this since I have been taking a cooking class (ha ha...). I did not have a grease fire extinguisher in my apartment. I was thinking how important it would be to review fire safety with our students. Not only is it important to learn about how to use an extinguisher but it is also important to review mobility routes in case of a fire in your home. Think about it: does your child know what to do if a fire was in your home---crawl on knees to get out? Not touch the door handle? Those are just basic tips that everyone should know. 

FIRE EXT     TUNDRA EXTINGUISHERI picked up a new extinguisher that does fire and grease fires for $25 at Target. It's small and easy to use (no pin required) and sits right underneath my kitchen sink. I also have become much more on top of making sure I always have a safety prepped kitchen for stove top cooking. For example, I always have a lid out just in case to cover a possible grease fire. 

Do this at home: Make a fire plan! Review what everyone should do and hold drills randomly. You should also do a fire extinguisher lesson and have your child learn how to use one. I do recommend the non pin kind because of their ease. Teach them how and where to point it. Then start thinking about other areas of your house where you can do a little safety teaching. I've got a few more ideas and I will blog about them later....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipe Renovation

I saw this in an old issue of FamilyFun and have been using this as spreading handout idea sheet for the last two years. I also thought it would be a great addition to the new Recipe Renovation posts. Every student needs to perfect their spreading skills. PB & J is the usual but with nut restrictions and stuff, it can be tricky. In addition, PB &J isn't always the easiest to spread.  I love this handout because it expands the spreading repertoire to some really yummy sandwiches and some easy cooking skills. For example, many of these combos require cutting skills (cucumbers and peppers). It also broadens the experience of healthy eating, food textures and sandwich ideas. I love this handout!!

A few other thoughts on spreading....
  • Think about using a standard size spoon for spreading instead of a knife. You can use the back end of the spoon for spreading. It's also easier to scoop with a spoon. I even use a spoon at home. 
  • Encourage students to hold their utensil properly. 
  • Put bread in the freezer for a bit before the lesson. It will be more durable when spreading. 
  • Always remember, to ask open ended questions when doing this kind of instruction. For example, don't just tell students that they haven't spread to all parts of the bread. Ask them if every area is covered. If they don't know how, ask them to use their spoon/knife to detect which area does and does not have food on it. 

This is a recipe that all students, early childhood through school age, can do. You can also work on food placement (patterns), have fun with contrasting colors and textures. There's some serious potential in just a sandwich lesson!!

Do it at home: Pick one sandwich at a time to do. Allow the student (no matter what the age) to prep this by figuring out where the ingredients are located. If you don't have them, take them to the grocery store to select them. If your child struggles, write down what they are struggling with and contact your TVI. Every student needs this skill!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Preschool ECC Resource

Our preschool unit created this list recently and I loved it! They all got together and thought about how the ECC relates to preschool. They went section by section of the ECC and brainstormed. Save this list as it is a handy, easy to read resource of ECC topics. Teams can easily get an idea of how to incorporate ECC topics from this handout. Thanks preschool TVIs for letting me share!!
photo from joyfulheartspreschool.com

ECC Considerations as they Pertain to Preschool Children:
A Collaboration of Ideas by CT BESB Preschool Unit TVIs
Orientation & Mobility
Body parts
Spatial relations
Learning to crawl and walk
Navigating around different environments: home, preschool settings, playscapes
Learn to orient themselves in space
Begin to learn about where they are
Parents and teachers need to describe and explain things to the kids about the environments that they are in and moving about in
Gain knowledge of time, distance, positional concepts
Independent Living Skills
Learn self-help skills: eating, dressing, toileting, tooth brushing, bathing, wash hands, etc.
Learn routines of the preschool classroom and at home for taking care of own belongings
Clean up routines of the classroom
Chores at home and school
Teachers and Parents develop Task Analysis of each of these activities to be taught to the child
Develop backward chains for teaching these skills
Recreation and Leisure
Music-listen to and/or play an instrument
Learn to sing, whistle
IPads & Apps, Computers
TV, Movies-listen to and watch; pick out favorite shows or titles
Read and Listen to Books, Story boxes
Learn co-active Games; Play with favorite Toys
Switch Activated Toys; Cause and Effect Toys
Outdoor fun: swings, ball play, running, jumping
Learning to be fit: exercise, yoga, and dance class
Being a part of an organized sports team
Participate in an individual sport like swimming, gymnastics, etc.
Learn turn taking
Interacting with peers and siblings
Go on field trips and real life experience trips with family and friends and classmates-going to the zoo, a baseball game, etc.
Horseback Riding Therapy
Swimming Lessons
Preschool “Nature Day” Activities
Career Education
Learning about how to do Chores at home and at school
Learning about how to work/play on your own
Learning about self responsibility of your own possessions
Cleaning up routines around home or school for toys, clothes, food, dishes, etc.
Learning about the world that they live in
Learning about their community and neighborhoods
Taking family outings out in the community to area parks, the grocery store, the Post Office, the pet store, etc.
Learn about the types of jobs that people do for a living
Be a part of “take your child to work day”
Learn about money and how you get it and what it is used for
Self Determination
Figuring out about themselves and how they relate to their environment
Learning about their likes and dislikes
Develop a method of communication with others: spoken language, pictures, signs, etc.
Interpretation of their means of communication by parents and teachers and peers
Use of Schedule Boxes and Calendar Systems
Use of Hand under Hand Technique
Learn how to speak up for yourself and be your own self advocate

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Is There an App for That?

A quick reference list of apps
compiled by Lori Cornelius, TVI from the Boston AER presentation,
 "Is There an App for That?"
*I couldn't find who the original presenter of this was so I sited it from the conference where Lori attended. She then typed this up as a handout. This isn't written by me but I thought it was an awesome resource. 

Note Taking – fully accessible
* Notes (very simplistic open page)
* Pages --$9.99 (Mac document creation and editing – similar to Microsoft Word, can insert pics, create tables, and insert tables
*Microsoft One Note (Create/View/Sync notes)

Audio Recording
*Voice memo --$.99 (included, simple to use, low vision friendly, access to list of prior recordings)
*Clear record -- $.99(record, sync, advance options, noise reduction)
Use noise reduction for LD students to help them focus

photo from iphonealley.com
*Dragon – free -- (Dictate and search) If using with Voiceover need to mute voice over in order Dragon to work
 Dictation apps – additional available but some are cumbersome
*Dragon Go –free -- voice activated search option

Internet and E-mail-Portability is the key – accessibility, portability, and speed

Money Identification-*LookTel Money Reader -- $1.99

Accessibility (Blindness and low vision)
(pedestrian, driving, and virtual navigation)
*Mapquest -- free
*Garmin -- $39.99  is good for low vision but may not be good at vocalized step by step directions
*Navigon -- $29.99 cheapest up to $119.99 good at step by step directions

 blindcooltech.com, Lowvisiontech.com, appsineducation.com
Applevis.com – good for product reviews
Advocacy: App Development – Apple Accessibility

OCR – Optical Character Recognition
*OCR Now – $13.99 -- use camera- take photo of document then it e-mails it to you access e-mail and retrieve

*Zoomreader – made by Ai squared – able to change colors. Only works with iPhone 4 more instant picture

*Image to Text –OCR  -- free -- e-mails the doc to you

Low Vision Solutions
Integrated into the device – zoom, change text size, contrast (reverse video) can not use with voiceover

Braille Literacy
Access to refreshable Braille has increased
Supports over 30 refreshable Braille displays

*Digital Books (Learning Ally, DAISY, Read to Go)
*Memos/To Do Lists
*Object Recognition/ID use camera on phone to take a picture
*Barcode Scanner   *News       *Shopping      *Banking
*Podcasts/Radio      *Games    *Calendar       *Lighting
*Social Networking

photo from michaelhyatt.com
*VisionSim – free --Vision Simulation app – Braille Institute

*iBooks – free - Voiceover and Braille use epub format which can be obtained from a variety of sources
A converter is available to make DAISY into ePub files
  *Kindle app – free -- does not work with Voiceover – can change the size and contrast
*Audible – free -- audio usually read by someone famous and are expensive
Printing from the iPad is only available through a few compatible printers --  new HP's seem to work

Office Max – Recording pens with recordable dots – create tactile books
Nook color – Offers reverse colors
Kindle font size up to 6M

Apple iReader- *Stanza – free -- using voiceover, *Read to Go
iPad not great for reading outside, Kindle works outside in the sun

*Blio – free -- KNFB accessibility built-in
          Download additional voices for around $10

iDevice Apps
*Bump – free -- to transfer apps by bumping into someone
*Pictello -- $14.99 – create talking photo albums
*Dropbox – free – save all files into one folder and access them from any of your computers and idevices
*Zoom Contacts – Zoomtext
*Writing toolkit
*Talk to Text
*Proloquo2go -- $189.99 –augmentative and alternative communication device – like a  Dynovox
* Touch chat
*Touch Suite – switch activation
*Sign4Me --$9.99 – type in a word and see the sign

My newest handout for paraprofessionals

This is my "boot camp" for paraprofessionals! I feel as if a paraprofessional can get these tips down, then the rest is easy!! There is, of course, Braille modifications that I did not discuss in this article but those tips can come from your trusted TVI. I recently wrote this for our latest paraprofessional in-service. I hope you like it!

Take 5 for Independent Living at School
by  Robbin Keating, Vision Rehabilitation Therapist
 Independent living skills are essential for students with vision impairments.  For many students, getting started and practicing are the most challenging obstacles.  Paraprofessionals play an integral part in facilitating an independent environment at school.  It is important to remember that your encouragement and enthusiasm can make a difference in the attitude of your student.  

A few things every paraprofessional should know about creating opportunities for independent living skills:
§  Understand the basics of the vision impairment. Paraprofessionals should understand what the student can see, cannot see and basic modifications (preferential seating, sunglasses, contrast, etc.). This information is provided by the teacher of children with vision impairments (TVI)
§  How to do appropriate hand-under-hand assistance. Be aware that you are asking the student to touch their hands before you grab them. Make sure that your hands are under theirs (avoid the puppet instruction!) and guide them to that task. Slowly remove your hands from underneath theirs and let them take over full control.
§  Appropriate communication. Social skills can be very difficult for students with vision impairments. It is important that paraprofessionals do not hover over their students. When possible and appropriate, allow peers to help with instruction/assistance. Excessive hovering by paras greatly reduces the opportunity for social skills development. In addition, be mindful of how you speak to the student. Are you talking down to them? Talking too loud and drawing negative attention from peers? Acting like a parent?
§  Allow students to sink or swim! Create opportunities for the student to initiate and be independent. Every student can do at least one thing for themselves! Meet them half way if you have to—you do 20% assistance but they have to be active and do 80%.

Here are my top five suggestions for getting off to a good start with
 independent living skills at school:
1.    Take an honest look at how independent the student is.
Para question: What can the student do without my help?
Points to ponder: Ask yourself: Is this student not independent because I am doing too much? Make a quick reference list of the areas/school routines that the student is independent. You can label each skill with somewhat, needs full support, independent. This is a great activity to do with your TVI.
 2.    What is the realistic level of independence for this student?
Para question: Does the student have the capability to perform age appropriate skills? If not in some areas, define what those areas are.
Points to ponder: Where are you truly needed? The role of the paraprofessional for students with vision impairments is to know when to prompt, how to fade supports and how to reinforce desired responses (from TSBVI, The Paraprofessional Working with Students with Vision Impairments).3.    Commit to step back from helping with everything
Para question: What is one thing I am doing for the student that I can STOP doing?
Points to ponder: Paraprofessionals need to understand that it is okay that sometimes their role is to only supervise, not do.  Paras do not need to remain in close contact with students unless specified. Paras need to ask themselves: Do I sound like audio-descriptive service? One thing most paras can stop doing is talking so much. Allow students to get lost, trail routes, discover new items without para assistance both verbally or tactually. 
4.    Set  specific goals for independent living
Para question: What is one specific thing the student can START doing independently? Make a commitment to empower students to be independent as possible. Make sure you have a conversation with the student where you both outline where and how you will be assisting them. Stick to it!
Points to ponder: Children and youth with vision impairments can very easily become passive participants especially if paraprofessionals are doing everything! Give wait time (at least 10 full seconds!) before jumping in and providing assistance. Remember that vision is instant and without it, there is a processing time.  Remember, one main goal of paraprofessionals is to fade supports. Typically, students should not have to rely on you to be independent. 
5.    Practice, practice, practice!
Para question: Am I enforcing at least 20 minutes of independent living skills (ILS) 4-5 times a week?
Points to ponder: ILS should be peppered throughout the students’ school day. It should be embedded in their routines. Students should be expected to organize their own materials (as they like it, not how the paraprofessional likes it), be independent in the cafeteria, travel to their classrooms and maintain their own materials, supplies, routines, etc.

If you feel that you need more help in this area, ask your child’s Teacher for children with vision impairments (TVI) for assistance.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recipe Renovation

I had a new idea this past week. It came while I was skimming through my latest copy of Redbook magazine. I love it when they share those "recipes on the go". The yummy recipes you can make in 30 minutes and are healthy and tasty. It got me thinking about my students and their cooking repertoire. 
     Most of my students' recipes are the usual teenager food choices. A lot of my students also eat unhealthy and easy to eat foods like chicken fingers or cheeseburgers (because they won't have to cut their food---grrr!!). I try to change that up at a lot of our programs so that they get exposed to different kinds of cooking. But it can be a challenge--what will a teenager eat?? Plus, a lot of the recipes that our kids learn are teenager food. It's not necessarily a bad thing because they learn to cook for themselves but what about foods that the whole family can enjoy? 
     So here's the first of my new blog posts for cooking. It's called Recipe Renovation! The idea is that I am going to find recipes that are easy to make, cover some good kitchen skills, have some nutritional value and are teenager and family friendly. The idea is that these are recipes our youth can make for family dinner. I'll also continue to share basic recipes but I feel like we have access to a lot of those. I'm also going to poll my teenage students and get their opinions (and I won't edit if they hate it!).

The first ever Recipe Renovation recipe, rush-hour ravioli:
You can download to see directions up close but as you can see from the picture, it's pretty simple. The only tweak I will suggest is offer the student several veggies to cut up for this like red & green peppers, mushrooms and onions. Have them saute them quickly then add to the marinara sauce. Now you have covered a bit more stove cooking and more cutting skills as well!

Here's my version before getting into the oven:
It literally took me no time at all. I made this in a snap for my family. I boiled the raviolis for 2-3 minutes (as instructed by the recipe), layered the spinach, ravioli, marinara sauce & cheese twice and put it in the oven. Easy peasy! Yummy, too!!

This is also a dish that my kids helped me with so this is younger kid friendly as well. 

Do it at home: Make the recipe! Include your child on the grocery shopping if possible. Have them do the prep work, the cooking (with your supervision) and the clean up! It's a complete lesson that's edible, too :)

Four Essential Strategies from van Dijk

I've blogged before about the amazing work of Dr. van Dijk and here I am blogging about him again! I was recently doing some research to help with a student when I found this nifty little article. I love this one because it is an easy to read reference. It articulates wonderfully how to use some of van Dijk's approach. So helpful for me to hand this out to teams! Believe it or not, I get tongue tied sometimes when articulating how to work with some students. The strategies make so much sense to me that I just do them and my teams look at me and ask "what did you just do?" 

Why you should like this article: Because the strategy is clearly laid out, followed by application and explanation. This is a great resource for your education teams and parents, too!!

Here's the link: http://www.tsbvi.edu/therapy/four.htm.

But even better, here's the article! This is from the TSBVI website. This is not written by me (I wish I was van Dijk :) 

Four Essential Strategies for Learning

developed by Jan van Dijk

1. THE PLACE TO STARTDevelop Security and Attachment

Explanation: Security and Attachment through touch are essential for the cognitive tasks of object formation and symbol formation – which is the basis for formal communication, and communication is absolutely essential to learning.
Application: For therapists, prioritizing security and attachment means that you don’t “handle” a child with DB or “stimulate” him, you develop a relationship first. Instead of “knowing” what the child needs, or providing a treatment plan, you “experience with” the child and let things emerge between the two of you.

Strategy: Resonance Activities

  • Resonance takes place at a pre-conscious level (reflexive reactions to stimuli, a reverberation of physical, vocal, and/or affective behaviors)
  • Resonance activities encourage the learner to shift from self- stimulatory behaviors toward interactions
Example: The child is banging on a drum with her hands, and the teacher joins in by banging on the drum with her hands. The child stops; the teacher stops. The child begins; the teacher begins. This leads to later imitation of action, which provides a foundation for learning concepts.
Resonance means we learn the child’s values and interests, and gain passage into personal relationship instead of imposing our own therapeutic agendas.

2. Establishing Near and Distant senses in relation to the world

Explanation: In van Dijk’s model, it is important to distinguish between “near” and “distant” senses when working with DB students who have difficulty communicating and learning.
Near” = touch, smell, taste
Movement, vibration, smell/taste: are “near” and accessible

“Distant”= hearing and vision
Language is “distant” for DB students

Just looking at the definitions of “near” and “distant” senses, it is clear that the DB student, due to deficits in both hearing and vision, may be at risk for problems with distant senses and the skills they inform
Application: When/if the student you work with seems “stuck” on the near senses (involved in a lot of body play, not seeking interaction), join her there, resonate, build up relationship, then try again to move out to the more distant skills of communicating with more generalizable forms (signaling, symbols)

Strategy: Using Co-Active movement strategies that foster Turn-Taking.

Co-active movement means that the teacher `joins-in' with the activity of the child, e.g. if the child wants to jump, the teacher jumps with him. Daily living activities, especially, give ample opportunity for doing things together (washing the face, brushing teeth, pulling on the socks, etc.). By adequate reaction to the child's co-operation, however minor this can be, an atmosphere of security and confidence will grow.
See: Supporting High Quality Interactions with Students who are Deafblind
Taking turns is fundamental to communication through language. I say something, you listen, then you say something. Then it’s my turn again. This is a very difficult skill for DB students who have trouble with communication.
"Children who are deafblind often require considerable time as they establish relationships with others and become comfortable in new environments….The ability of children with severe multiple disabilities to develop secure attachment and turn-taking social interactions may be threatened by multiple factors including: (a) time spent in intensive care units separated from their parents, (b) severe health problems which may have limited physical contact with caregivers, (c) low levels of arousal and an alert state that is not long enough for attachment to occur, (d) extremely elevated levels of arousal that lead to over-stimulation, (e) communicative cues that are atypical and difficult to read, and (f) limited ability to read caregiver cues (e.g., if vision is limited, the young child may not be able to imitate the social cues of his caregiver such as a smile and he may not know when he should take his turn in a social interaction)."
van Dijk, J., & Nelson, C. (2001). Child-guided strategies for assessing children who are deafblind or have multiple disabilities. Sint-Michielsgestel, the Netherlands: IvD/MTW, AapNootMuis.

To teach turn-taking, you can start by teaching SIGNALING.

Example: Use simple games in which there are clear roles for each person involved (a rocking game on your lap: child’s role is to rock and enjoy, therapist role is to initiate the movement. Once the child begins to process the rhythm of the movement and you’re confident that the movement is pleasurable, stop. Wait for the child to respond is some way to let you know wants the movement to start again. Accept any purposeful movement as a SIGNAL to continue. You can shape that original signal later. This kind of signaling tells you that the child a) understands your role in the interaction b) is willing to take responsibility for communicating what she wants.

3. Learning to Structure the World

Through an introduction of objects that come to represent activities (usually motor activities)

If you already do a motor routine with the student, try incorporating an object that could later become a symbol. When you do a ball workshop, have the child hold a koosh ball. The koosh ball later comes to mean “ball workout.”

Through “characterizing” activity by associating a natural gesture, a smell, a taste, a texture, word, symbol, etc. with it

"a) Characterizing strategies assist the learner to build a repertoire of communicative referents. By choosing a meaningful characteristic of a frequently encountered activity or entity, the teacher assists the learner to associate communicative meaning with events and things in the learner's world. Characterizing the learner's world is a way to talk about his/her world, structure his/her world, remember his/her world, and to anticipate what his/her world is about. People, animals and objects, events, time, and emotions can be characterized by the learner.
b) Encouraging the learner to realize and use a characteristic referent can be accomplished through (1) a natural gesture, (2) an associative object (objects of reference), (3) a smell, (4) a taste, (5) a texture, (6) a sound, (7) a picture (drawing), (8) a 3 dimensional model, and/or (9) a written, spoken, and or fingerspelled word. For example, characterizing the teacher by a pendent is possible if she consistently wears the same one, or characterizing orientation and mobility by the wrist watch the instructor consistently wears."
From Overview of the van Dijk Curricular Approach links to another website

Through learning to sequence things and remember the sequence

Use the motor activities, or the functional routines you have, to build awareness of the sequence of tasks. “Sabotage” that sequence once in a while (remove the toothpaste from the oral hygiene materials, take the ramp out of the obstacle course) - see how the student problem-solves to let you know something is amiss)

4. Developing “Natural Communication”


For van Dijk, anticipation is one of the most essential components in developing language. “Anticipatory communication strategies are founded upon routine. For example, when a familiar activity is changed, purposely or coincidentally, the learner has the opportunity to express his/her awareness that something is different.”
It’s our job to be alert to the student’s anticipatory state so we can take the opportunity to expand the learner's understanding of a particular situation. Learning to incorporate pleasant and, curiosity-provoking conditions into an activity to elicit anticipatory behavior (e.g., finding something unexpected when going for a walk) will help your DB student maximize the experience of being in therapy.

Symbolic systems – pictures, words, sign, etc.

Decisions about what kind of symbolic systems to use and how to implement their use are made by the educational team. As a therapist, your primary responsibility with a DB Student is to know what the symbol system is, and to incorporate it into all of your interactions with the DB student.

Developed by Chris Strickling © 2008 Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A little fun social activity

This past Saturday I had one of my Student Advisory Council (SAC) meetings. Just for FYI, SAC is a leadership-based youth program that I run for my students. The criteria in a nut shell is that this is for typically developing students who are active in the communities, school, churches, etc. I created this group with another TVI when we were brainstorming ways to teach the ECC to our typically developing students. I'll blog more about that later but not that you are up to speed with SAC, here's a fun activity that we did as an ice breaker. I thought I would share it because sometimes finding ice breakers for Braille and print readers can be hard to find. A lot of times ice breakers have a large visual component to it and it is challenging for our students to participate. I also thought this was a fun mobility activity. 

 Once we explained the activity, my colleague (who is an OM instructor) and I had fun using "right" and "left" in a conversation which warmed up the students to the activity. I found this activity on the site, http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activities/ice-breakers-low-activity.page-1.html. They had a few other activities that were good. They also have a video so you can watch how to play it. We also played "Finding Twins" and "Jedi Numbers" which were both super fun! Here's one to start with. This is Mr. & Mrs. Right. Have fun!!

Mr. and Mrs. Right
Have everyone stand. Read the story. When you say "right" everyone takes a step to the right. When you say "left" everyone takes a step to the left.
This is a story about Mr. and Mrs WRIGHT.
One evening they were baking cookies. Mrs. WRIGHT called from the kitchen, "Oh, no, there is no flour LEFT! You will need to go RIGHT out to the store."
"I can't believe you forgot to check the pantry," grumbled MR. WRIGHT. "You never get anything RIGHT!"
"Don't be difficult, dear," replied Mrs. WRIGHT. "It will only take twenty minutes if you come RIGHT back. Go to Fifty-first and Peoria, and turn LEFT at the stop sign. Then go to Sixty-first Street and turn RIGHT, and there it will be on your LEFT," declared Mrs. WRIGHT as her husband LEFT the house.
Mr. WRIGHT found the store and asked the clerk where he could find the flour. The clerk pointed and said, "Go to Aisle four and turn LEFT. The flour and sugar will be on your LEFT."
Mr. WRIGHT made his purchase and walked RIGHT out the door. He turned LEFT, but he couldn't remember where he had LEFT his car. Suddenly he remembered that he had driven Mrs. WRIGHT'S car and that his car was in the driveway at home RIGHT where he had LEFT it. He finally found the RIGHT car and put his purchase RIGHT inside.
Eventually, a weary Mr. WRIGHT found his way home. Mrs. WRIGHT had been waiting impatiently. "I thought you would be RIGHT back," she said. "I LEFT all the cookie ingredients on the kitchen counter, and the cats got into the milk. You'll just have to go RIGHT out again."
Mr. WRIGHT sighed. He had no energy LEFT. "I am going RIGHT to bed," he said. "Anyway, I need to go on a diet, so I might as well start RIGHT now. Isn't that RIGHT, dear?"

Do it at home: Play this game at your next family game night! General education teachers, this is a fun game to play in your classrooms!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Least prompts assistance aka hand-under-hand

Happy Tuesday! This week I want to share something that one of my favorite preschool TVIs, Yvonne Locke, compiled into one amazing handout! This handout  is to help teams and families understand least prompts assistance.  (We call this hand-under-hand.) Yvonne took the information from the Developmental Guidelines for Infants with Visual Impairments, (Lueck, A., Chen D., et al (2008) page 15-16) and tweaked it.  It is only one page, so it’s easy to use as a reference tool.  
Least prompts assistance is a child centered approach for instruction, which has been proven to be effective when teaching children with a range of disabilities.  The belief is that instruction should begin with the prompt that provides the least amount of assistance whenever possible.  If the most assistance is needed, the goal is to fade to the least amount of assistance for the child to participate in the activity.  The intention of this sequence is to encourage a child’s active participation and to minimize dependence on prompts (dependent/passive learning). Below you will find a list of prompts that move from least to most intrusive, which has been adapted for children who are visually impaired with and without additional disabilities. 

Hierarchy of Prompts
Natural Cue
The offer of an object for the child to see or feel elicits the desired reaction.
Gestural Cue
Movement or gesture, such as a point or a wave, indicates the desired action to the child and elicits the desired response.
Direct Verbal Cue
Verbal request for the action elicits desired response by the child.
Demonstration of the action to the child elicits the desired response.  Completely blind children should be encouraged to place both hands on the modeler’s hands to feel the movement (tactile modeling).
Physical Prompt
Physical contact is provided that can range from a touch of the child’s hand to placement of a hand under the child’s hand (hand-under-hand assistance) to guide him/her through part of the action to elicit the desired response.
Physical Guidance
The interventionist’s hand is placed of the child’s hand in full physical contact to complete the desired action.  This is known as hand-over-hand assistance.  Some children may dislike this kind of physical assistance and find it intrusive.  To encourage a child’s active participation, hand-over-hand assistance should be used only when absolutely necessary.