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Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Strategy 1: Teach vocabulary using the representation mode(s) most familiar to the child (e.g. objects, pictures, tactile symbols, print, braille)

What to Do

  • Determine the communication mode that the child uses most frequently
  • Show your child target vocabulary word using mode selected (object, picture, tactile symbol, print or braille)
  • Allow the child to explore the representation of the word
    • Exploration may include any or all of these: touch, shake, bang, play with, mouth, smell, listen to, hold close to face, put on face, tap, or other actions unique to a particular child
  • Repeat the word using the child’s preferred communication mode(s)
  • Create a word box containing the symbolic representation (object, picture, tactile symbol, print, braille)
    • Helps the learner remember words
    • Includes something tangible to represent the word
    • Includes the word represented in one or more additional modes
    • Can be used to move to more abstract representations by adding the word displayed in new modes

Things to Consider

  • Have you checked to be sure other adults are using the same representation mode consistently?
  • Are other adults using the same word rather than a synonym?
  • Is the mode you have chosen accessible across environments? Is the object or device portable and available?


Always Ask Yourself