Understanding various COVID-related concepts can be hard enough for the average student, but for learners with multiple disabilities or Deaf-Blindness it can be a significantly more involved process. While it is challenging to teach students with disabilities to model new behavior in a short time, it is certainly possible and achievable.
The Paths to Literacy Organization has assembled an infographic slide set from an adapted science lesson of students with Deaf-Blindness and multiple disabilities in an effort to help students with disabilities adapt to the new normalcy in the classroom. One of the purposes for this set is to show students in a creative way that everyone wears a mask, including individuals that the students are familiar with. Additionally, for students who are blind or who have low vision there was an educational video created with staff members talking about mask-wearing and its importance in our current climate. This was very helpful to these students because the actors involved in the video were staff members who the students knew and trusted prompting them to model their behavior.
Further ideas to engage children with disabilities and instill in them the importance of wearing a mask can be found on the Paths to Literacy Organization website. Specific examples may include but are not limited to: participating in fun activities while wearing a mask, allowing students to decorate their mask, incorporating a mask into an educational routine, add rewards to mask-wearing, etc. The ideas are endless, but it is all centered around the creativity of educators to pass on important messages about safety to children with disabilities who may be challenged by the changes caused by the pandemic safety, but are still incredibly capable of learning given the proper consideration.
Please also see the resources shared below from NCDB, which may be helpful for professionals who also serving students who are Deaf-Blind.
- NCDB’s Key Topic for Families focuses on Hands & Voices, an organization for families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing—including those who are deaf-blind—from birth through high school. Visit Learn About the Hands & Voices Organization. https://www.nationaldb.org/for-families/learning-resources/family-topics/hands-and-voices/.
- NCDB hosted a webinar in June for Spanish-speaking families to share their personal experiences, including their struggles and successes. It was conducted in Spanish and English captions are available. https://www.nationaldb.org/updates/shifting-your-perspective-webinar/.
- What exactly is a support service provider (SSP) and how do they help people who are deaf-blind? See Deafblind People and Support Service Providers in the 21st Century, the most comprehensive publication to date on SSPs, now posted on NCDB’s website! https://www.nationaldb.org/info-center/Support-Service-Provider-White-Paper/
Don’t forget that Connections Beyond Sight and Sound is the Maryland and DC Deaf-Blind Project and is a great resource for educators and families.