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Instruction based on home routines

Home routines are a great way to build rich instructional experiences for children with CVI. Here are two examples.

A young boy learning how to ride a bike outside

Instruction during remote learning should continue to incorporate experiential and multisensory learning. When children with CVI can use context, environmental cues, and other sensory information, they are better able to build visual memory and recognition. Home routines are a great way to build rich instructional experiences.  These are naturally occuring routines with materials that are already in the home. These known materials have the best chance of visual recognition on a screen. Parents can describe their natural routines and work together with the entire team to develop learning that addresses all aspects of educational programming.

Example 1: If the natural routine is going to get the mail, there are skills that each provider can work on to support the success with this task. 
  • Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialist: navigating to and from the mailbox
  • Occupational Therapist (OT): opening the mailbox and envelope, placing mail in a slot, writing/drawing a letter, folding the letter and placing it in an envelope
  • Classroom teacher: reading stories that include sending a letter, the post office, or jobs in the community (mail carrier), writing/drawing a letter about a specific topic

This one activity can be expanded to career education (mail carrier), finding library books about mail, counting the mail, and attribute concepts such as size, shape, length and so on. One natural routine becomes the bases for many disciplines to focus their instruction.

Example 2: Instruction around a common home object—the sponge.
  • Listen to a poem or song about a sponge while holding the sponge in hand.
  • Discuss salient visual features and tactile features of a sponge: shaped like a square, small shallow holes all around it, one side is soft and one size is rough, squishy.
  • Active learning with the sponge: place the sponge in a bowl of water, then take the sponge out and squeeze the water back into the bowl. Add two bowls and use the sponge to soak up the water from one bowl and then squeeze the water out into the other bowl. This task works on fine motor skills and sensory efficiency skills, along with the development of concepts like empty, full, squeeze, soak up, more and less.
  • Use the sponge in home routines: wiping the table after meal time or cleaning up a spilled drink.
  • Compare the sponge to a 2D photograph of the same sponge on a plain background.
  • Place an array of three objects on a non-complex surface—sponge, small kitchen towel, and dish soap—describe how all are used to clean up. Allow the child to explore each object. Describe the salient visual and tactile features of each object. Talk about the similarities and differences between each object. Show the 2D picture of the sponge and ask, “Find the same as what is in this picture.”
  • Write an original experience story about using the sponge or make up an imaginative story about the sponge.
  • Use pieces of the sponge for an art project: dip the sponge in paint and see what happens when applied to paper.

Child playing with a sponge, squeezing the water from the sponge into a bowl

Learn more about CVI and remote learning, starting with the first article in our three-part series!

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