The challenge put forth to me was to create a mobility lesson while using a high tech app. Imagine my student, a 2 year old child who is totally blind trailing the walls in his home with both hands, sidestepping through his home like a pro, exploring every crevice, corner and curvature of his indoor environment, but whose speech is limited to only a couple of words. As a TVI/COMS I wanted to build upon his strengths to:
- Expand his vocabulary of indoor words and concepts
- Encourage more tactile exploration on a smaller, fine motor scale through books and "maps"
- Expose and increase his interest in talking books
- Increase his awareness of cause and effect
As you explore my book, you will recognize that the text is very repetitive. Repetition is used widely as a tool for early readers because it helps them recognize and identify familiar words, and instills a sense of confidence in the reader. I created this 6 page book using the Pictello app on my iPad, to describe the significant rooms in this child's home: bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, living room and dining room. The favorite aspect of Pictello is the built in speech feature (a talking book) and the tap and go to the next page feature (cause & effect). The disadvantage of this app is the lack of tactile input or output. Therefore, I also created a mini 2D book to coincide with my "Welcome to Wyatt's House" book by creating 6 basic outlines (one for the cover and five for the rooms) using the Pictures in a Flash (P.I.A.F.) machine by Humanware. Exploring raised line pictures is the beginning of reading and understanding tactile maps. When each 2D P.I.A.F. outline is placed on the iPad, the child is able to tap and go to the next page because the pages are thin enough to activate the iPad. I also added braille to each P.I.A.F. page. This product is so effective due to the winning combination of the repetitive story about his own indoor environment and household concepts, the cause and effect of each page turn, the voice recognition practice, and the continuing encouragement of exploring finer details with his hands. Nothing is sweeter than making a 2 year old smile.