Making Enhanced Picture Cues
The Making Enhanced Picture Cue document shows how to make photographs more meaningful by using pieces of objects or tangible symbols the individual is familiar with to bridge the gap between concrete and abstract symbolism.
Making this bridge can be challenging because the act of photographing the objects changes the size. The document shows how to make your photograph's content the same size as an object or tangible symbol so the two can be fused together to make an enhanced picture.
Two Parts, Photo
One Part, Photo
Experience books are tools that organize concepts in a logical way, presented in a form the individual can access both from a functional input standpoint (vision, hearing, touch, smell) and from an experiential perspective (what does the individual know and how did they really experience it). The books are carefully thought out to accurately portray the individual’s experiences so they can be reviewed during, as well as long after an experience is over. The books provide a stage where the individual and the person supporting them have common and accessible reference objects, pictures, and words to discuss an experience. This may be used for teaching about a concept, eliciting communication through simple expressions or formal language, or even simply reminiscing about a fun experience an individual had.
The books may also provide a walk-through that can be used to guide an experience that the individual is engaging in more than once, both during the activity and as a method of anticipation before the event recurs. The book is made with the individual and the parts are collected together with the person supporting them. For example, an individual may be helped to review the book before an activity to help them anticipate that they will be getting on a bus and going on a trip to the petting zoo. Once there it may act to provide independence for the individual by explaining routines. The book may explain, for example, that after we pet the animals we wash our hands. After the exciting experience the individual is likely excited and wants to talk about the fun they had. This provides a great time for bonding and again sets the stage for enhanced communication about the event. In the rush of a moment it can be hard to expand on all of the concepts and language that we want to build with an individual who is deafblind. This format allows us to sit down once relaxed, review and expand on what we experienced together and learned.
The general rule of thumb for this type of book is to collect the objects and pictures together, talk about the book while building it together (even build parts while you are doing the activity if possible). Try to stick to one concept per page and think deeply about how to convey those concepts in a concrete way. Expand the book as the individual's concepts around an activity expand. Mechanisms for understanding complex concepts are very individual. Consider how to link known information to a concept. For example, the gardening book with the colour coded days of the week (pictured above left) matched up the individual's weekly colour coded calendar so he could track the progress day by day and learn to generalize the concept of the time it takes for the plants to grow.
Experience books can be created for students at all levels of conceptual development. They may be as simple as one real object pasted on per page and just three pages, or could be as complex as needed to convey an idea. Some individuals may start to develop larger concepts and may be able to understand the use of images such as those found on a Google image search, while others will need the experiences (real collected objects) in the books to be exactly the same as what they touched, saw, heard or smelled.
Making Pancakes Experience Book
This is an example of a book that was designed to include several elements. The individual was able to see pictures and visually explore real objects. They could match numbers and were learning to follow the sequence of pages. The book offered motivation, a clear sense of structure and purpose behind the activity and provided a time for learning in a calm moment that wasn’t during the chaos of the actual cooking experience. It was also a way of stimulating and reinforcing vocabulary.
Another aspect was the fun of sitting down at any time and acting out the activity for fun. The individual also learned to mime actions and engage in imaginary play during this activity, a skill which sometimes needs to be consciously taught for individuals who are deafblind.
3D models can be a fun way of exploring large objects that are difficult to see, if the individual has a concept of scale and can understand more abstract representation.
These models were used to discuss sciencetopics, give a sense of the layout of a bus and help a child who had acquired deafbliness to comprehend what she would experience on her trip to Paris, France.
The models on this page were created very quickly and haphazardly with the support person leading and the individual involved in the process as much as possible. The paper was quickly crimped and stapled mostly by eyeballing the shapes. It was done quickly so the individual's focus did not waiver from the task. The model of the basil plant was made with tape because the individual did not know to be cautious of the sharp edge of staples.
I created this map to expand a student's comprehension of his environment and also as a communication method and a conceptual measurement tool.
The map was posted close to the individual's daily calendar. As we were discussing the day we talked about where we would visit. Over time I would be able to use more abstract phrasing and descriptions and measure his comprehension as I was speaking, from his feedback pointing to the map and signing.
The photos, being on display and in an organized context, also allowed him to go to the map at any point during the day as a tool to extend his expressive vocabulary about places.
We also made maps of the schoolyards, used Google, street maps and other tools to expand his skills with maps (which were already quite advanced). Note that this is a very abstract format to display information and may not hold meaning for many individuals who are deafblind.