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    Tangible Symbol Systems
    By Michelle

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    If he can see, the Visually Impaired specialist can help you determine if modifying your pictures would work. Sometime changing the background, size, level of contrast, etc. will help the child be able to use them. If not, you'll have to use tangible symbols instead. Do a google search for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. They have a standard object vocabulary list. However, with a younger or lower functioning child, you often have to develp your own using objects that are meaningful to the student. For example, my deaf/blind student has a tray of objects including a cup (I want a drink.), a spoon (I want to eat), a shoe (Let's go for a walk.), a ball (Let's play something together.), a piece of foam that feels like the top of his mat in his sensory center (I want to play in my center by myself.), a piece of diaper (I need to be changed.), etc. The important thing is to remember that the object symbol must have meaning to the child. For example, we use a piece of a booksack strap to mean "Time to get on the bus." A miniature bus would not have any meaning for the child. He can't see it, so it isn't at all like a bus to him. However, he knows that when we pick up our booksacks, it is time to go home. So, the booksack strap is similar to his experience at bus time. (Just close your eyes and see if you can still find the resemblence.) The Texas School website also has lots of other good information too. Good luck.


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