Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homeschool Lesson Plans for Blind Child

I'll be posting some of my "adapted" lesson plans I've made for my blind daughter in the upcoming months. She is in Kindergarten, so the plans will focus mainly on fundamentals including the core curriculum for language and math, as well as expanded core curriculum ideas such as self-help and independence skills, orientation and mobility, and of course everything will include braille, textured graphics, hands-on activities, and more!

Please feel free to send us an email or post a comment for an objective you'd like to see an adapted lesson plan for your child! We'd be more than happy to help come up with some ideas for your next theme!

Products to encourage sitting, crawling, standing, and walking!

Below is a list of toys we recommend to help in encouraging your child to make progress towards the next developmental stage, whether it be sitting, crawling, standing or walking! Click the picture to link to the outside resource where we found the best prices. These also make great gifts that any child, blind or sighted will enjoy!

Many toys, such as the sit to stand activity centers, grow with the child making them well worth the money. All the toys below have sound. Until about a year ago, my daughter (now 6) wouldn't even consider playing with a toy unless it made lots of great sounds!

Recommended Products:

toys for helping learn to walk

Shoes squeak when you walk!
Wee Squeak Shoes - http://wesqueak.net/

Fisher-Price Cruise Around Activity Lion
Fisher-Price Lil Snoopy Pull Toy
Fisher-Price Melody Push Chime
Fisher-Price Learning Vacuum
Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone

toys to encourage standing
   Fisher-Price Musical Table
   Rainforest Jumperoo
   Fisher-Price Learn and Move Music Station

toys to encourage sitting

   Bumbo Seat
Also, check out the attachable tray so baby can play with her favorite music toy while sitting!

   Vtech Sit to Stand Learning Walker
   Bright Starts Around We Go Activity Station - Doodle Bugs

toys to encourage crawling and tummy time

   Fisher-Price Singin' Soccer Ball
   Fisher-Price Crawl Along Drum Roll
   Crawl Along Snail
   1-2-3 Rainforest Musical Gym

***always consult your doctor or therapist before starting a new exercise program for you or your children.

Additional Resources:
USA Gymnanstics - http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/pages/home/publications/technique/2010/05/06_core.pdf
Yoga for Kids - http://yogakids.com/
   They also have a great app for download on iTunes!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DIY Texture Board

UPDATE: Have you created your own TEXTURE BOARD? Share it with us for a chance to win a basket of sensory products including SMENS, stickers, textured paper and more! Just LIKE US on Facebook and share your pictures on our page. We'll pick one winner on December 31, 2011. The more creative, the better! Now go make a DIY texture board and share it on Sensory Sun's Facebook page!

It's never too early to introduce little fingers to an assortment of textures- fun and interesting textures at that! You can easily make this board using our Textured Paper Assortment package and a piece of 1/4 inch foam board from your local hobby store. Children will enjoy just feeling the different squares, or playing matching games. Encourage children to describe the textures and notice the differences between each of them, as well. Ask them to describe real life objects that feel the same. Present 3D objects that feel similar as well. It is best to use objects that the child has had a previous experience with, then show that other things may feel the same way, but are different in ways like how they work and what the are used for in the world. Some examples are given below. Enjoy!

For this example, we used 1/4 inch foam board and 6 different textured paper pieces- but feel free to experiment!

2 pieces 1/4 inch foam board, with 1 piece cut into 6x6" squares (6)
1 package of Textured Paper, cut into 6x6" squares
24 sets of adhesive backed Velcro circles
Glue stick
Box knife, or similar craft knife blade

Cut Textured paper into 6x6" pieces, having 2 squares of each texture. Cut one piece of foam board into 6x6" squares. Glue 1 square of each texture to one square foam board square piece, ending with a total of 6 square textured pieces.

Next, glue the remaining textured paper squares to the large piece of foam board in a 2x3 column/row arrangement (see image below). Adhere the one side of the corresponding sets of Velcro to the four corners of each textured piece on the board. Then adhere the matching Velcro pieces to the individual textured square pieces. The Velcro helps the squares stay in place for the matching game, but could be skipped if you feel it may interfere with the child learning the major textures.

To use on the wall, you can also place Velcro pieces on the blank side of the board for storing the loose squares, or simply keep them in an envelope or box with the board.

Tactile Texture board with matching tiles

Madilyn matching the "honeycomb" textures

Object and description ideas:
Zebra- notice the raised stripes and show they are different from the fuzzy polka dots on another square. Read a book about zebras and other African animals. Zoobooks offers their magazines in braille by contacting their office.

Honeycomb- feel a real honeycomb (it is often easy to find these from local farms) The added sensory exploration of a sticky honey mess will be great, too! Winnie the Pooh books go great with this activity, as well tasting it too! (Children under 1 year should not eat honey.)

Lizard or snake or alligator (or some reptile!)- many hand size replicas (like from Safari, Ltd.) are detailed enough to feel the scales on the animals. You may even try visiting a pet store that is a temporary home of one of these slithery friends, and ask the store assistant if the child may feel them.
Bubble wrap- show how the bubbles form circles just like the polka dots on the paper. Explain how the bubble wrap pops making lots of noise, unlike the smoother paper dots. Show what how we use bubble wrap for protecting fragile objects by wrapping a cookie with the wrap, place in a box, tape it up and toss around. Next, try the same without first wrapping it in bubble wrap. And you might want to save a few extra cookies to eat after this science experiment!

Sandpaper- the glitter paper feels much like sandpaper, but does not achieve the same results when used like sandpaper. Have the child try this and experience the results himself. Just be careful for wood with splinters!

Dried mud- the black raised mountains with glitter feel a lot like dried mud. Have some fun outside after the next rain dries up outside. Or recreate your own version inside in a plastic box. Clay type mud or dirt works the best! This is a great activity to perform when the child is learning about the desert, too!

Furry Polka Dots - Compare the fuzzy texture to that of a furry animal friend. Describe the arranged dots as a "pattern".

Monday, August 22, 2011

IEP help from iAdvocate app

School is back in session and for children with special needs, including blindness and other disabilities, this time of year also brings the dreaded IEP meetings. Unfortunately, not all schools and administrations understand or even care enough to provide the visually impaired child with all the resources, technology, and additional training he needs.

Syracuse University has published an application for parents to provide goals, strategies and possible scenarios to assist in working with the child's school to meet all child's the needs. The app is free for download from the iTunes app store. Check it out via the link below!


Syracuse University
Category: Education
Updated: Mar 31, 2011
iTunes for Mac and Windows
Please note that you have not been added to any email lists.
Copyright © 2011 Apple Inc. All rights reserved

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Price of Accessibility

We are in the age of technology- constantly transforming and improving, while trying to balance complexity, affordability and performance. What keeps the common technology somewhat affordable? Well, there are many things taken into consideration, but demand and competition probably drive down prices most. So how does a relatively small population, such as visually impaired children and adults, gain access to the accessible technology they need to function as their sighted peers? The answer, most don't.

How many blind children are introduced to a computer that is fully accessible to them at the same age of their sighted peers (which is now 4-5 years old)? Not many. Why? My experience is that many adults feel the need is not there- at least not enough to spend almost $3000 on a braille style keyboard with refreshable braille- a strip of movable braille dots that present the text on screen in braille to the user to feel. Or not enough that every home of a child with visual impairments can own their own braille embossing printer or PIAF, a device that creates raised line drawings using special paper, acting much like a copier. I must express my strong opinion that the NEED IS THERE! So how much do you think it would cost for my family, or any family with a blind child, to purchase the accessible "equivalent" technology many sighted families use in their own homes every day? I present to you the large numbers and a comparison...

SIGHTED- Price $                                    BLIND-  Price $ 
Inkjet Printer (All-in-One)  62.00                 Braille Embossing Printer     5995.00
Monitor   169.00                                         Speakers & Headphones         48.00
Keyboard & Mouse       29.00                    Refreshable Braille Keyboard       2795.00
TOTAL: It costs a visually impaired person on average
$8838.00 total -and $8578.00 more than a sighted person!!
Please note that this is strictly my personal experience and products (and therefore their prices) are based on what I found would be best for my daughter. There are other products and other options, however I want my daughter to have what will be most beneficial to her!

If you would like to learn more about technology for the visually impaired, please contact us at Sensory Sun! If you would like to donate directly to our mission of purchasing the items above for my daughter, please donate using the PayPal button below. All donations are appreciated, however please be aware that we are not a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your donations are not tax deductible. For investor information with Sensory Sun Educational Technologies, a registered small business, please contact us by email at bviresearch@gmail.com!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Coupon for Tiny TOMS

Enter code "FREESHIPTOMS" at our Etsy Shop to receive free priority mail shipping anywhere in the US for any pair of Tiny TOMS you buy from us! Happy Shopping :)


Monday, August 1, 2011

Items on sale at Etsy.com

We are currently placing a variety of items on sale at Etsy. We will constantly be listing new braille greeting cards, TOMS shoes with braille, braille magnets, and more! Please check out our public shop at SENSORY SUN SHOP on etsy.com. And you can always email us or comment below to request a special product like a fun and cute kid's birthday card with braille and embossed graphics!

Butterfly Birthday Card with Braille "Happy Birthday"