Communication Resources

This topic collects information on the development of language and communication skills in those who are blind or visually impaired. Most links here focus on younger children. Parents can explore strategies for establishing communication, fostering the use of language, and the use of tactile and object cues in helping the child to understand their environment.

This free downloadable podcatcher is a tool for finding, downloading, archiving, and sharing poscasts.

These activities integrate literacy into a preschooler's play, storytime, and daily activities.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Linda Burkhart outlines the many skills that can be reinforced through adapted play, including cognitive, communication, and fine and gross motor skills.  She also offers suggestions for expanding communication skills and interaction through play.

Source: Simplified Technology

The history and structure of braille, with attention to the issues of learning braille as an adult; includes a discussion of finger sensitivity, and alternatives to braille.

Source: VisionAware

Ann Gelles shares a series of animal stories designed to teach contractions to beginning braille readers. "Students are introduced to … whole word contractions and short form words as they learn and practice the alphabet."

Source: California School for the Blind

Susan Boswell and Debbie Gray outline the steps in toilet training, including assessment, physical structure, establishing a routine and communication system, and troubleshooting. A list of children's books about toilet training is included.

Source: Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH)

Rick Harmon manages the Geek Zone's lists of helpful resources, including "audio tutorials, gadget demonstrations, useful links and programs, and a community of tech gurus...."

This section of the AFB website includes resources for teachers of braille, resources for parents, a link to DOTS, the newsletter for braille literacy, and a listing of sources of braille materials.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

"BANA's purpose is to promote and to facilitate the use, teaching and production of braille." It publishes codes, rules, interpretations, and opinions about braille, most of which can be downloaded from the site.

Source: Braille Authority of North America (BANA)

Reproduced by Duxbury, Inc., world leader in software for braille and braille translation. These are print resources for students and teachers of braille.

Source: Duxbury Systems, Inc

NFB offers many braille-related programs through its Jernigan Institute, including the Braille Certification Training Program for people who want to become braille transcribers.

Source: National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

This free, self-paced online course provides literacy teaching techniques and an understanding of the issues faced by adults with visual impairment and low literacy skills.

Source: American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Helping your child with visual impairments under how nonverbal behavior and body language contribute to communication.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

Another useful list of reminders for behaving with consideration when interacting socially.

Source: Vision Australia

The articles in this section offer a wealth of information on alternate methods of communication, including symbol systems, schedules, and sign language.

Source: FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

These fact sheets inform parents on all aspects of communication. Each sheet defines the topic, explains its importance, and offers tips and important points to remember. Some are available in Spanish.

Source: National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

This assessment tool is designed to pinpoint exactly how a child is currently communicating and to assist in creating communication goals. This user-friendly online version is aimed at parents whose children have severe multiple disabilities. Available in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Vietnamese, and Czech.

A wide range of teaching strategies used to provide effective instruction to students with visual impairments and additional disabilities is presented in this collection of video webcasts. Includes reflections on touch, tangible symbols, and creating communications portfolios for students.

Source: Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind

Project SALUTE describes the hierarchy of communication symbols, from most abstract to most concrete. Color photographs of each of the eleven symbols are included; available in English and Spanish.

Source: Project SALUTE

When a child does not speak, many behaviors are a form of communication. This tip sheet reminds caregivers and educators of the basics. This landing page links to fact sheets in English, Chinese, Laotian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Source: California Deaf-Blind Services (CDBS)

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