For those of you who scrapbook or keep mementos from a special event: Are they always pictures? Or do you include the dried flower, the ticket stub from the concert, the rock you found in a special place you hiked?
The question is not if the child sees “well enough”—it is how the child best interprets those pictures and links them to experiences or memories he has. The pictures might work well for concepts and parts of the experience that he is most familiar with. Newer concepts, however, might best be understood with a tactile object or a partial object to represent them.
As many times as you want or she wants. When you create several experience books for the child to read, she will have favorites—just as we have favorite memories or experiences. She also will start to select different experience books, so identify each book with a different cover and tactile marker to help her scan the books quickly for the one she wants.
Children often memorize books they like before they ever read. Children who are deaf-blind can do the same with books that have concepts and experiences they know—and the “knowing” comes from repeatedly “reading” favorite experience books with the child.
Too often we adults select a commercial book and attach a tactile item or texture to each page. The child might—or might not—be interested in our product. Instead, try this strategy:
First, consider the experiences, concepts, and interests of the child. Over time, create a variety of experience books for the child, and help him understand what is in each book by involving him in the process. Making the experience book with the student helps him understand how it is connected to him.
Too often we make books after school or at home at night, and the child has no understanding of how the book “magically” appears. To be effective and efficient, make the books with the child, allowing him to do any small part he can. This approach can increase the likelihood that the child will be interested in the book.
With many of our children who are deaf-blind, we speak to them and assume: ”Aah, I am communicating and he is understanding.” Unfortunately, we might not be using some of the senses that work better for this child.
When using an experience book with a child we have many opportunities to meet the requirements of communication and conversation:
two people are interacting, with
a shared topic (the experience),
consistent vocabulary (objects and/or pictures on the page).
The child also is following a consistent sequence within the book, thus teaching beginning, middle, and end—concepts that are crucial to all learning.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS TO HAVE FUN WITH THE CHILD SO HE OR SHE WILL WANT TO DO IT AGAIN