Changing Batteries

By Courtney Tabor-... on Oct 26, 2016

One of the common tasks of independent living is changing batteries. So many things in our technocentric society are battery-operated. Remote controls, thermostats, bathroom scales, those horrendous loud toys that our children’s grandparents buy for our kids just to annoy us—all of these require batteries to work.

Changing batteries is something many of us do regularly, even if we would rather just toss that annoying loud toy out the window. This task is particularly relevant for individuals who are blind or have low vision, who use battery-operated assistive technology on a daily basis. However, for students with vision impairments, this task may not be intuitive. The activity below will teach students how to change batteries, a small but important task that can help them prepare for the various demands of adult life.


  • Various types of batteries (e.g. AA, AAA, C, 9-volt)
  • Materials for creating an accessible diagram
  • Small battery-operated device, preferably a device the student uses regularly


  • Present students with several common types of batteries in order to explore them and learn to identify them by their difference in size.
  • If needed, create a large print or tactile diagram for the student to use as a reference. Demonstrate the sizes of various common battery types along with their names, and create a diagram displaying proper battery positioning.
  • Using a small battery-operated device, work with the student to remove the batteries and to explore the battery compartment.
  • Using the diagram and verbal instruction, assist the student in putting batteries in the device. Demonstrate how to make sure batteries are facing the right way, how to ensure they are inserted securely, and how to replace the cover on the battery compartment when finished. Student can test the device to see if batteries were installed correctly.


This activity addresses skills related to manual dexterity, and also addresses a number of ECC components. Students practice sensory efficiency by learning strategies for putting in batteries effectively. They practice compensatory skills by learning to follow an accessible diagram for instruction. They also build upon their skills in using and caring for their assistive technology devices.

Collage showing a group of batteries

Read more about: Transition

Total Life Learning by Wendy Bridgeo,‎ Beth Caruso,‎ & Mary Zatta

Cover of Total Life Learning

The Total Life Learning curriculum was developed for students ages 3 to 22 who are blind, visually impaired including those students who have additional disabilities or are deafblind. The focus is on the development of life and career goals that enable student to maximize independence, self-determination, employability, and participation in the community.