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Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Strategy 5: Use pairing and fading to move children along a hierarchy toward recognizing words in print and braille

What to Do

  • Determine where the child is on the hierarchy and note the next level
  • Present the word in the representation mode already familiar to the child (e.g. object)
    • For example: object, partial object, tactile symbol, photograph, line drawing, print or braille
  • Pair the familiar word with a representation from the next level (e.g. partial object)
  • Present the word in both modes as you say or sign it
  • Give the child ample time to explore the word without prompting or distractions
  • Provide praise and positive feedback when the child attends to the new representation
  • Gradually fade the familiar representation mode
  • Provide praise and positive feedback when the child identifies the word correctly in the higher level mode

Things to Consider

  • Are you allowing enough wait (pause) time to allow the child to process the information?
  • Are all members of the child’s team consistently using the same representation mode(s)?
  • Are you allowing enough practice time between new words?
  • Are you continuing to say or sign the word (and allow the child to touch it) whenever it is shown or any time it is found in the home, classroom or community?
  • Are you continuing to move the child along the hierarchy as each mode becomes familiar? 
  • Are you using higher level modes for the words most familiar and motivating to the child? 


Always Ask Yourself