predictable routines

Staying at Home: Cook with Your Child

As we think about engaging and learning while at home, cooking provides a multitude of multisensory learning opportunities. Pick one food that your child loves and create an opportunity to cook that food repeatedly throughout the week. Pick a quieter time and quieter place for this activity for optimal visual abilities. Create a non-complex surface with increased spacing of materials. Block distracting light and movement around the activity. This can be a long or very short activity.

Some simple favorites:

  • Koolaid
  • Eggs
  • Smoothies
  • Nachos
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
  • Chex mix
  • Ice cream sundaes
  • Yogurt parfaits
  • Pre-packaged Mac and Cheese
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Pizza

Let’s think about what this one activity provides our students with CVI:

Visual Benefits: Remember to engage visual skills at all times. Tell your child what they will see. Show the item to the child without talking. Describe the visual features of the item. Show again without talking. Allow tactile exploration.

  • That repeated visual opportunity will provide visual prediction that your child needs to develop visual recognition of the foods, the packaging, the utensils and the storage containers that are regularly and consistently seen.
  • Thinking about the support of color, picking packages, utensils and containers of very different colors will help the child discriminate and recognize each based on color.
  • That will allow you to describe the visual features: what the food, packaging, utensils and the containers look like.
  • Repetition provides opportunities to develop visual memories.
  • The movement of the cooking sequence draws and helps maintain visual attention.
  • Using these real materials will allow exploration of the different visual perspectives of the visual materials.

Compensatory Skills Benefits:

  • Activities engage visual, auditory, olfactory, taste and tactile senses; all of which support visual recognition skills.

Language Benefits:

  • Creating foods provides opportunities to develop sequencing and following directions.
  • Provides opportunities to use position words: “on top of”, “add to”, “in/out”.
  • Provides opportunities to use attribute words for the visual aspects and tactile aspects of the foods.
  • Provides opportunities to use cooking vocabulary: “mix”, “fold”, “stir”, “beat”, “add”.

Cognitive Benefits

  • Provides opportunities to use concepts: hot/cold
  • Provides opportunities to use concepts: more/less
  • Provides opportunities to use concepts of attributes: big/little, long/short, curved/straight
  • Provides opportunities to use concepts of the appropriate storage of foods (those stored in the cabinets, refrigerator, freezer).
  • Provides opportunities to understand the properties of liquids and solids
  • Provides opportunities to use for grouping and categorizing
  • Provides opportunities to understand parts to whole: sliced banana vs. the whole banana.
  • Provides opportunities to for food handling: peeling, cracking

Reading Benefits Reading in print, Braille, symbols, pictures

  • Provides opportunities to for reading in print, Braille, symbols, pictures
  • Provides opportunities to create lists of things to buy to get ingredients
  • Provides opportunities for reading and following directions of the recipes

Mathematics Benefits:

  • Provides opportunities to for measuring and weighing
  • Provides opportunities to understand one to one correspondence
  • Provides opportunities to understand time concepts
  • Provides opportunities to understand temperatures
  • Provides opportunities to understand size concepts
  • Provides opportunities to count
  • Provides opportunities to cut into foods into factions
  • Provides opportunities to fill and dump
  • Provides opportunities to understand portions

Science Benefits

  • Provides opportunities to experience cause and effect
  • Provides opportunities to use chemistry
  • Provides opportunities to understand how foods are different in form: milks require pouring while mayonnaise requires scooping
  • Provides opportunities to understand how heating and freezing impacts foods
  • Provides opportunities to use force for cutting, separating

Social Benefit

  • Provides opportunities for sharing
  • Provides opportunities for cooperating

Motor Benefits

  • Provides opportunities for opening and closing containers
  • Provides opportunities for holding heavy and light materials
  • Provides opportunities to use two hands together
  • Provides opportunities for stirring different textures with different tools
  • Provides opportunities to use pouring, scooping, kneading

Advocacy Benefits

  • Provides opportunities to plan
  • Provides opportunities to make choices.

Career Benefits

  • Provides opportunities to sort needed ingredients and tools
  • Provides opportunities for cleaning needed tools
  • Provides opportunities to set up for completing a task

Technology Benefits

  • Provides opportunities to use recipes on iPads
  • Provides opportunities to use blenders, mixers and other kitchen equipment
  • Provides opportunities to use the oven, the microwave and to use stovetops

Even if your child is not eating foods, participating in tube formula feeding is also an opportunity for many of these same learning experiences.

Each activity can be easily adapted for the various functioning abilities for each child. Some will be independent with supervision and some might require hand under hand support for participation. Touching, looking at, pushing something into a container is all participation. All levels of abilities can be engaged and learning fruitful for all!

Want more? You can use these to follow up after your cooking. Use again and again!

  • Take pictures and make a Powerpoint book of the ingredients or process
  • Find a Youtube of a character making the same food. Follow up your activity with this literacy material: Here is one about making pizza https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX2vQNNC80c
  • Make a recipe book
  • Make a symbols book for the utensils

Mirror Neurons and Incidental Learning

Neuroscientist Vilayanur Ramachandran created this Ted Talk to discuss mirror neurons. Mirror neuron’s role in the brain was recently discovered and research about the function of mirror neurons continues. As Dr. Ramachandran mentions in his talk, he believes mirror neuron use is one of the foundations of human interactions and cultural growth.

Mirror neurons, activated by visual observation, allow us to imitate and practice observed actions and to take the perspective of another person as they operate in the world. I couldn’t help but think of mirror neurons in the context of CVI and visual impairments.

For children with CVI, that lack of essential visual access would make mirror neurons function impossible and this must impact the development of all skills and knowledge, all imitation and the development of all social skills. The role of mirror neurons, it seems, is essentially intertwined with incidental learning and perspective taking, the basis of social skills.

A vast amount of information that a child learns about the world is through this visual incidental learning. If I watch a person eating, I am learning through visual skills alone, how people eat. I know the position for eating, the social skills of eating, and the tools used for eating. My brain, using mirror neurons, is practicing eating long before I ever use a spoon myself. I am exposed to this kind of incidental knowledge all my waking hours from birth and I am learning without being directly instructed.

After watching this Ted Talk, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this not support the need for careful evaluation of what children with CVI really understand and how they understand it?
  • Does this not caution us to think about why children with CVI might struggle with imitation and pretend play? (and caution us to be careful to never use this imitation and pretend play criteria for cognitive assessment)
  • Does this not justify all direct instruction to students with CVI?
  • Does this not justify the repeated need to practice all skills directly taught?
  • Does this not justify the Expanded Core Curriculum for students with CVI?
  • Does this not justify a TVI who understands visual inaccessibility on a child’s educational team?

https://www.ted.com/talks/vilayanur_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilization?referrer=playlist-how_your_brain_constructs_real

Phase III: Child with Visual Recognition Difficulties

My friend is a parent of a child with CVI with visual recognition problems. On the CVI Range, he scores in Phase III (Roman-Lantzy). She constantly describes the impact of CVI on her son that she witnesses every single day. These children with visual recognition problems due to CVI have really, really good central vision use that is consistently used. Because they are looking, people think they have visual access just like we do.

This is her story about a family trip to Montreal. Of course, Omer really doesn’t care for these adventures into noisy, busy and new environments where objects and people are not known and therefore not understood. CVI is an issue of visual recognition after all. He wants to stay in the hotel room that is quiet with few people moving around. He understands and can visually predict the bed, bureau, TV and chairs. He knows the people in the room are his family so that reduces the stress. Because the family understands this difficulty, they picked a quiet restaurant for lunch.

On the table at the quiet restaurant, Omer he saw a glass of room temperature water with bubbles.

 

Omer never saw the bubbles in a glass of water before. A few weeks prior, he had seen and experimented with putting salt into water and drawing on that experience, thought the bubbles were salt. Pretty smart but wrong…

For kids with CVI and visual recognition problems, it takes so long for them to visually process newly seen events and materials. Omer was working so hard to close the gap of information that he missing. He is desperately trying to link previous information to this novel visual target.

Omer never saw the bubbles in a glass of water before. It was his first time seeing it and he was fascinated! He asked his mother to take a picture of it so he could zoom in for a good look and verbal explanation.

I am so proud of Omer’s advocacy! What I do worry about is what is number of times in his day that he encounters items, people and events he doesn’t understand and the we, with perfect vision, forget to make accessible?

Visual Experience, Experience, Experience

For science nerds like me!

“Neuroscientists Reveal How the Brain Learns to Recognize Objects”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100922121937.htm

This article comes from work being conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). They are studying how humans process visual information for recognition so they can design artificial visual systems. It seems vision is such a complex process! I think parents and teacher have understood this for years!

This great article that drives home the brain’s need for repeated experience to build visual understanding. The brain must have repeated experiences with objects in different kinds of positions, perspectives, lighting, size and distance. It reminds me to provide my students with real objects in repeated, predictable routines to build familiarity. It reminds me not it only present iPad visual targets that can’t be manipulated. The child builds visual recognition from the presentation of objects in multiple positions to view multiple perspectives. If the child is not able to manipulate material themselves, we must provide that varying visual perspective.

This is a reaffirmation of the characteristic of Novelty that Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy discusses (Roman-Lantzy CVI Range 2007)

 

 

Predictable Routines Create Familiarity with Materials

I love to work with smart, collaborative team members.  Here is a writeup of a group of predictable, co-active routines for one of our students, Jim. These are activities he loves.  Because he loves these, they are the routines we want to capitalize on for language and vision use. He will have greater interest and attention to these materials and build familiarity with the icons and photographs. 

 

Predictable Sequences for Jim

Prepared by Tess Daigle and Ellen Mazel, CASE Collaborative

April 25, 2016

Using Predictable Sequences to Promote Communication and Visual Understanding

Adapted from Perkins Scout, Cognitive Development in Young Children: Developing Meaningful Routines in

Predictable Sequences can be an important tool for developing Jim’s interest in communicating and increasing his communication skills. Predictable Sequences can be songs, finger plays and coactive movement activities in which he participates and that happen consistently, the same way every time.

Their basic ingredients include:

  • A name or a label for the activity. (In some cases, a visual symbol may be used to represent the activity.)
  • a consistent beginning, middle and ending
  • opportunities for Jim to actively participate in the activity
  • consistent language to support understanding of the activity.

Predictable sequences help Jim learn many different skills. Because Jim has had the opportunity to learn and practice the sequence with support and he already knows what will happen next, it is easier for him to make the connection between the activity and the communication about it. In addition, motivation for communicating is often built into routines. For example, when a song or movement is paused, it provides him with the opportunity to signal his desire to continue by moving his body, vocalizing, activating the Step-by-Step to indicate “More!”, or to bring his hands together to “sign “More.” Providing extra time for him to respond in these activities can also give him a chance to reject or end and activity that he may not prefer. Both the predictable sequence and the additional communication help support his understanding about communication interactions with a partner, concepts about patterns, time, and names for things and actions. Some functional communication opportunities that are supported by predictable sequences include:

  • requesting something
  • confirming an understanding of a situation
  • getting attention
  • sharing information
  • labeling an object or activity
  • initiating a social interaction
  • rejecting an object or activity or saying “no”/ “I’m all done.”

Building many different reasons for communicating into a routine will expand Jim’s communication opportunities.

Jim can use a variety of communication methods within a predictable sequence or a routine including (but not limited to)

  • gestures, such as moving his body or reaching
  • Looking at his partner, an object or a symbol
  • an AAC device such as his Step-by-Step Communicator
  • sign language approximations (e.g., “more”, “all done”)
  • picture communication symbols or enhanced picture communication symbols to request a preferred activity.
  • voice—speech or other vocalization

You may also want to think about how Jim can use all of his senses to increase his participation in a routine. He can use his vision, touch, hearing, and even smell and taste within a routine to give him a cue about what to do next, to motivate his participation, or to reinforce when he has completed a step in the routine.

Predictable Sequences:

  • Spaghetti Arms
  • Shake, Shake, Shake
  • Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes
  • Tickle Your Chin
  • Happy and You Know It
  • Up and Down

 

Predictable Sequences

1.) Spaghetti Arms

Begin: Point to picture communication symbol, then say, “Let’s do Spaghetti Arms.”

Sequence:  Stroke Jim’s lower arms three times with deep pressure saying: “One, two, three….”, then hold his hands and shake them vigorously and say ….”spaghetti arms!”

Following this, pause, then using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language, signal “More spaghetti arms.”, then repeat the sequence.

End: Using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language, signal “We are all done with Spaghetti arms. Assist Jim to place the picture communication symbol in the red highlighted all done bin.

Predictable Sequences

  • Shake, Shake, Shake

Begin: Point to picture communication symbol, then say, “Let’s do Shake, Shake, Shake.” (Shake the maraca.)

Sequence: Offer the maraca to Jim and direct him to take/hold it.  Give him assistance to grasp the maraca as need. Sing “Jim can shake, shake, shake. Jim can shake, shake, shake. Jim can shake …..,Jim can shake…., Jim can shake, shake, shake.

Now, lift the maraca up and say “Up!”. Holding the maraca up, shake it and sing the song again.

Next, move the maraca down and tap it on the table. Say “Down!”, change voice to high or low, shake the maraca and sing again.

This activity can be varied by changing to a low or high voice to make it silly and fun or by shaking the maraca fast or slow! Also, by pausing the activity briefly, Jim can be given the opportunity to move his body to signal, “Keep moving!”

End: Using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language, signal “We are all done with Shake, Shake, Shake.”  Assist Jim to place the picture communication symbol in the all done bin.

Predictable Sequences

  • Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes

Begin: Point to picture communication symbol, then say, “Let’s do Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.”

Sequence:  Hold Jim’s hands and move them to touch his head, shoulders, knees and toes as you sing the song. Following this, pause, then using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language, signal “More Head , Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”, then repeat the sequence.

This activity can be varied by singing it very fast or slow, loud or soft.

End: Using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language signal “We are all done with Head Shoulders Knees and Toes.  Assist Jim to place the picture communication symbol in the all done bin.

Predictable Sequences

  • Tickle Your Chin

Begin: Point to picture communication symbol, then say, “Tickle Your Chin.”

Sequence:  Wiggle your index finger within Jim’s visual field and exclaim, “I’m going to tickle your chin! “, then gently tickle him below his chin and say, “Tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle!”. Be aware that sudden, unanticipated touch like this might be difficult for Jim to tolerate at first. Give Jim plenty of time to get ready before tickling him. Then, be sensitive to possibility that he might prefer to stop or keep going depending on his reaction. Following this, pause, then using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language, signal “More Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”, then repeat the sequence. Or, end the activity based on Jim’s response.

End: Using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language signal “We are all done with Tickly Your Chin.” Assist Jim to place the picture communication symbol in the all done bin.

Predictable Sequences

  • Happy and You Know It

Begin: Point to picture communication symbol, then say, “Happy and You Know It.”

Sequence:  Provide Jim with hand-under-hand assistance to sing the “If You’re Happy and You Know It” song.  Clap hands, stomp feet, or raise arms up and shout “Hooray!” for sequenced verses. Following this, pause, then using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language, signal “More Happy and You Know It.”, then repeat the sequence. Or, end the activity based on Jim’s response.

End: Using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language signal “We are all done with Happy and You Know It.” Assist Jim to place the picture communication symbol in the all done bin.

Predictable Sequences

  • Up and Down

Begin: Point to picture communication symbol, then say, “Up and Down.”

Sequence:  Hold Jim’s hands with your thumbs on top of his hands. This will allow you to use touch cues to signal “up” and “down” as you continue the predictable sequence. Moving your thumbs, tap three times on the top of Jim’s hand, then say/sing “Up, up, up, up, up.” Next, press your thumb down and slide it across the top of his hand, then say/song “Down, down, down, down, down.” Repeat. The third time, tell Jim “This time, get ready to shake!” and shake both of his hands very gently. Tap three times on the top of Jim’s hand, then say/sing “Up, up, up, up, up.” Press your thumb down and slide it across the top of his hand, then say/song “Down, down, down, down, down.” Tap three times on the top of Jim’s hand, then say/sing “Up, up, up, up, up.” Next, with hands still up, say sing, ‘Shake ‘em all around and ‘round, and ‘round, and ‘round, and ‘round and ‘round!” as you vigorously shake Jim’s arms all around.   Following this, pause, then using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language, signal “Up and Down.”, then repeat the sequence. Or, end the activity based on Jim’s response.

End: Using hand-under-hand coactive tactile sign and verbal language signal “We are all done with Up and Down.” Assist Jim to place the picture communication symbol in the all done bin.