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Literacy for Children with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss

Strategy 7: Teach children to use written language for self-expression, recreation, and leisure.

What to Do

  • Select an activity that the child is likely to enjoy
    • Use writing for self-expression through journaling and writing poetry
    • Use writing by playing typical, age-appropriate games such as
    • Hangman, Scrabble, or Words with Friends
    • Use writing for leisure through activities such as scrapbooking and crafting
    • Use writing for self-expression and leisure by writing cards, notes, letters, texts, emails, or instant messages to others
  • Consider . . . 
    • The child’s likes and dislikes
    • Vision and hearing abilities
    • Motor abilities
    • Attention span
    • What other children of the same age enjoy
    • How frequently can the child do the activity?
    • Is this something that can be repeated long term without the child “outgrowing” the activity?
    • What parts of the activity can the child do independently?
    • What supports or modifications are needed?
  • Offer the child the opportunity to engage in the activity
  • Help the child gather the materials needed
  • Engage in the activity allowing the child to set the pace
  • Give time to explore the materials, think, and make choices
  • Look for opportunities to model writing and to entice the child to write
  • Encourage the child to interact and communicate throughout the activity
  • Provide a way for the child to end the activity
  • Help the child put away materials

Things to Consider

  • How can you use partial participation to allow the child to engage in age-appropriate activities?
    • Examples: 
      • A child uses a communication device or an Alternate Pencil to choose the first letter for a partner to use in creating a word during a game of Scrabble
      • When scrapbooking or creating crafts, a child makes and communicates choices, uses an Alternate Pencil to scribble or dictate text, or manipulates materials given physical assistance
  • This strategy is about recreation and leisure.  As you observe over time, is the child having fun or do you need to consider another activity?
  • Are you allowing the child to make choices including what activities to do and when, where, and with whom to work?
  • Are you choosing activities that encourage the child to interact with others and make friends?
  • When writing to others, are you providing opportunities for the child to write to a variety of people for a variety of purposes?
    • People: 
      • Peers (with and without disabilities)
      • Family (immediate and extended family members)
      • School staff
      • Volunteers who work with the child or class
      • People or groups from the community (Are there opportunities to tie into community based instruction?)
    • Purposes: 
      • To socialize
      • To issue invitations
      • To make requests
      • To respond to communications from others
      • To express thanks


Always Ask Yourself