The Visually Impaired Child: How Can We Make A Difference?
by Dave Melanson
There are many ways in which teachers can make a difference for the sight impaired child. Simple additions and modifications to traditional activities can enhance and make school activities more meaningful.
For example, when early elementary classes are engaged in story time, teachers often use finger and hand puppets, felt figures, or other objects to make a story come to life for children. In the case of the visually impaired child, a teacher may wish to use objects that have a specific smell or scent to them to allow that child to use his or her other senses to make the story come to life. The aroma of fresh baked gingerbread released as the story of The Gingerbread Boy is introduced would help the child make an important sensory connection.
Props that have a soft or hard touch or other interesting texture may also be used as smell and touch are a major part of a sight impaired child's world. Allowing the sight impaired child to hold and stroke the wolf puppet while you read the tale of Red Riding Hood, or handling an empty sea shell during A House for Hermit Crab will help the child make connections otherwise unlikely.
Objects that have sound to them may also be used to bring another sensory dimension to a story. Imagine how much more the visually impaired child would be involved with a reading of Mrs. Wishy Washy if the sound of splashing water were introduced during each refrain. And, if that child actually participated in the splashing, the sensory experience of hands in water would be even more meaningful. Such story enhancements benefit the sight impaired child AND the fully sighted children.
I have developed several audio tapes from previous seminars I have given on the topic of mainstreaming and integrating sight impaired children. I am willing to sell these tapes for $10 U.S. each. If there is any school district that is interested in purchasing a tape, please contact me:
702 Riverview Ave
Verdun Quebec Canada H4H 2C1
About Dave Melanson...
Dave Melanson is located in Montreal Canada. He has four years experience presenting seminars and sensitization training to elementary schoolteachers on mainstreaming and integrating visually impaired and blind children into the regular classroom. During the past 2 years he has begun to branch outside of the Montreal area and is now covering other Canadian Provinces as well as the U.S. When giving seminars Dave brings with him a briefcase of 10 pairs of simulator glasses, each allowing the wearer to experience a different type of visual impairment.
Dave will provide a tape of a previous seminar to any school district interested in booking a presentation in order to demonstrate the topics he covers with regard to integration and mainstreaming a sight impaired or blind child.
You may contact Dave for more information by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 514 7683264. Dave can also be found in the Teachers.Net chatroom many evenings during the week, logged on as Dave/Montreal.