Here are 10 quick and easy modifications you can make in your classroom to encourage independence and learning for your totally blind student.
- Outside the Classroom: Mark the outside of the classroom with a unique, identifying texture, letter or object that the student can easily reach out to touch.
- A Place for the Student Can Put Their Cane: Mount a hook at the doorway of the classroom so that the student can hang their cane in an easily accessible location.
- Putting Belongings in the Coat Area: Assign the end hook for your student to hang their backpack and coat on. This will allow your student to either trail his or her hand to the end of the row to locate the hook or to use the hard edge of the row as a boundary.
- Marking the Student’s Chair: Help the student identify his or her chair in the classroom by adding a tactual marker to the back of the chair. You might use bump dots, a soft strip of Velcro, cute foam shapes, or a texture of the student's choice.
- Assisting the Student to Locate Their Chair: When necessary, you can tap the back of the chair and/or gently guide the student’s hand to the backrest, rather than physically manipulating the student’s whole body.
- For Carpet/Rug Activities: Help the student locate his or her spot on the floor by giving them a built up or double carpet square. This will assist the student in differentiating his or her space from peers.
- For Traveling Through Open Space in the Classroom: Use an anchored rug or runner to create a path to guide the student to specific areas in large open room (consult your O&M Specialist for safety first).
- Differentiate Centers in the Room by Using a Tangible Symbol: Select a tangible symbol for each center in the room (ex: a block could be used for the Block Center, a baggie of sand could be used for Sand Play Center, etc.). Mount the symbol at each Center. (A great idea is to have the object, the photograph, and both braille and print at each Center). Give a matching set of the symbols to your student. Have your student match his or her own symbol to the Center symbol so that he or she is able to orient to the layout and activity Centers in the room.
- Provide Physical Boundaries for Tabletop Activities: Use a lipped tray for craft activities, block activities, or mealtime activities to contain materials and give the child a way to keep track of supplies or materials.
- Verbally Inform the Student of Important Comings and Goings in the Room. Ensure that adults and peers verbally identify themselves and inform the student of when they have arrived and when they are leaving (example: Hi, it’s Gail. I'm going to the block area now. Andy just sat down to work with us). Call us if you have questions 800-842-4510 x4232 or x4185
Contact: Gail Feld or Gigi Whitford, TVIs, Connecticut Services for the Blind, Connecticut Services for the B
Phone: (800) 842-4510 ext. 4232