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Making Communication Cards Together

Imagine wanting a drink of water and not being able to see the water fountain or form the words that are in your head. Students at the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx face these challenges daily. ADA recognized these communication challenges over twenty years ago and, since its inception, made tangible symbol cards to order, handheld blocks with raised objects like a cup or straw, that a person could share when they are thirsty.

When staff from the school joined the ADA team at the Lavelle campus in November to learn about tangible symbol cards, they were treated to a day of learning and building their own set of tangible symbols. “I knew of a student who was so frustrated, he became destructive,” said Laura Taub, an ADA Board member and Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). “What appeared as an emotional issue was actually a communication barrier. He wanted to share his feelings of frustration about specific issues, and there was no way to share that information with us. Of course, he was frustrated! With the use of tangible symbol cards, his needs could be known."

Teachers from Lavelle had a full day at ADA of instruction on how to select objects and how to use the cards. They made cards and were able to keep them. And most importantly, ADA was able to plant an idea, a seed about creating simple communication tools. Teachers learned that they could tailor the learning symbol cards to help the specific communication needs of each student.

At ADA, we want to share our knowledge with the world. Our goal is to plant seeds of knowledge in learning communities and provide support.


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