Learning What you Need

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Friday, September 23, 2011

The Multi-Level Teaching Approach

When a child has lost sight or is losing sight, no matter what age, they need multiple areas of instruction. If they are older, they need this more than ever.

If you can get a child when they are young, you can put them on a brailler, or Mountbatten for small fingers, a computer with talking software and some type of player for audio books: teach them the Nemeth and other blind skills needed and they can grow with the class.

If however, you have an older child come to you, especially if they are in middle or high school, they need a way to get that heavy bulk of work done within the day. If they are going to learn all those blind skills, you will need to show them the relevance of what you are teaching them. If you choose to teach them from an outside curriculum such as one of the braille curricula, which are great, BUT, they will fight you on this, whether passive aggressive or a direct "No". You will be adding to their burden of trying to do their regular classes already...they will think, "HOW am I going to do one more?"

The multi-level approach: Out of the students' day, they will have some type of English class. This is the ideal class to adapt into braille and use technology. You go to Bookshare.org and download the book, or rather you show them how to do it. You show them the thousands of their favorite stories are right there to read. You get him excited. You also download Victor Reader soft and install on the computer or you have a handheld reader. You go to JAWS and download Real speak voices of their choice so when they listen to books they are listening to a voice they enjoy. You get them signed up with the state book and braille library, you get them signed up with everything blind--for a list, go to http://blindgeteducated.blogspot.com/ then click on Files to Download and use and you will see a link for website resources available to you. He will need a minimum of an hour a day with you and you can pull him periodically from English because you will be working on the same lesson. If he is older and about ready to graduate, he will most likely need more time.

Now the student has the book on the computer. You also have him emboss the chapter he is presently reading right now in class. He will braille the pages, read the pages and listen to them on his computer, so he always has a way to keep up in his class. When reading braille, you will paragraph jump with him, as in you read and he follows then he reads. Go to Braille--Get them Hooked in a http://blindgeteducated.blogspot.com/. You show him how to type out all his answers to everything in WORD and then he emails the lessons off to his teacher. He will learn the technology incredibly fast. Even if he has never touched a computer before, which will happen if the child comes from another country, he will learn the keyboarding in about 4-5 hours, an hour a day over 4-5 days...don't try and do this in one sitting. The brain does not work that way. He will know enough JAWS commands to be fairly independent in 2 weeks. It happens fast. If he has something like a Braille Note, his braille skills will accelerate also because he is getting the audio, tactile feedback when he presses the keys. For orientation and mobility, you blindfold him so his listening skills are enhanced and honed and you quiz him on how to get from point A to point B in the building...then an O&M instructor takes him outside and they begin learning about city blocks.

As long as you the teacher know the braille strategies, the JAWS and computer commands, you will see him sail.Teach him the help menu so even if you don't know something he will learn it himself.

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