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Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Strategy 4: Provide ongoing support for new reading tasks.

What to Do

  • Identify individual literacy goals based on curriculum, as well as family and student interest and activities.
  • Examine home, school and community environments for opportunities to introduce new reading and writing tasks that can be tied to curricular units, and/or identified student interests and activities.
  • Identify and document the accommodations/equipment necessary for literacy in new environments and new reading and writing tasks.
  • Modify environments and provide tools to provide access in all environments.
    • Deafblindness is a disability of access. If we work on literacy skills in the classroom and then send students out into the world without access to the tools that provide that access, we have not done our jobs. We must find ways to bring access to students – and give them the means to take those tools with them.
    • If students use symbols for literacy, they need a “home copy” and their families need to understand how they are used. If a piece of technology provides access, it must be able to leave the school building – and if it can’t, a portable version must be created.
  • Update vocabulary on communication devices and in environments for new literacy tasks
    • Providing access is an ongoing process. If the student uses tangible symbols, print, braille, or voice output, we must be sure access is provided when new words are added to the student’s vocabulary.

Things to Consider

  • For students who use braille, are you providing access to braille throughout the environment by labeling?
  • For students who use symbols (object or picture) are you adding the text to the symbols so everyone refers to them consistently?
  • For students who need large print, are you teaching use of magnifiers?
  • For students who have limited physical abilities have you determined the best response mode, found the appropriate assistive technology that allows student involvement?
  • Have you collaborated with your Assistive Technology team to evaluate for the best tools for your student?

Always Ask Yourself