Contributed by: Cindy Wang, MA
This seemingly simple lesson has helped me out TREMENDOUSLY. I had to teach my low vision student who is also on the autism spectrum different environmental concepts: curbs, gutters, corners, streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, etc. It seemed so overwhelming at first because he didn’t know what any of these were. He kept calling the tactile bumps corners. I didn’t realize my solution would be this simple– take pictures of the environmental concepts and show them to him!
First I started out by taking pictures of curbs, gutters, corners, streets, and sidewalks near his school. Then, we would sit on campus and I would label each picture as I showed it to him. After a couple lessons, I would have him label the pictures with me. After a few more lessons, I would show him the pictures and have him label them to me.
To mix it up and make it fun, we would use these cards to play a matching game inspired by an earlier post: goo.gl/UqKTwQ. He had to find matching pairs and the catch is, before he could look for the second pair, he had to label the environmental feature on the card to me.
Once he was pretty consistent in labeling the cards, we started going off campus. I brought the cards with me and we would go to the different locations where I took the pictures. I would show him the picture and label the real life version of the pictures I took. We did this for several lessons. After a while, he started labeling the different environmental features when I asked him to. By the end of the year, I was able to tell him to walk to the corner, stay on the sidewalk, and get away from the curb!
To help him generalize these features to different travel environments, I made a new set of cards with the same features. I call these the “hard cards” because the pictures are from Google. They’re different from the types of corners, curbs, gutters, etc. that are around my student’s school. So far, he’s been doing great with them! He loves it when we make it into a matching game.