The teaching of salient features begins at birth. It should be a strategy suggested to parents and teams whether a child is in Phase I, Phase II or Phase III. In Phase I and II, we would be careful to limit the auditory distraction of salient feature discussion to before a child looks at materials and would support again after a child looked at the material due to the issue of complexity.
Incidental Use of Salient Feature Discussion:
Narration of the salient features regarded by the child becomes a philosophy of instruction throughout the day. This would provide salient language around items that a child can see at near and distance regardless of the CVI Range phase. If the child is looking at materials, these materials are important and often the most familiar to the child. “That’s your Elmo. He is red with white round eyes.”
Planned Use of Salient Feature Discussion:
I love to use attribute trays to discuss salient qualities. If the child likes balls, I would create a salient feature tray of balls. This allows discussion of the favorite colored ball and salient language.
- The first kind of tray would contain all the same colored, favorite balls. The number presented would depend on how many items in an array a child can tolerate as determined by assessment using the CVI Range. “That’s your favorite red ball. Its round. It is small and fits into your hand. Its lightweight. Oh, you dropped it, and it rolled”. There is another one. It is red too. You dropped it and it rolled”.
- The next kind of tray would include several favorite balls and one added item that was very dissimilar in shape, size and color. Discussion would include: “That is a spoon. It is silver with a long handle. It is not red. It is not round. It does not roll when you dropped it. It is not a ball.
- The next kind of tray would include multiple kinds of balls of various sizes, weights, textures and colors. Discussion could focus on the similarities and differences of the balls.