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Jake's Literacy Story
It was fun to be involved with Jake's Story and think about his literacy development. His family has been instrumental in laying the foundation for Jake to become a successful communicator and to use literacy in his day to day life. I saw so many examples of ways they enhanced his environment to make it rich for exposure to literacy as well as supplying him with many different experiences to help build important concepts.
One of the first things I noticed is that they "followed his lead". Over the years I'm sure they read his behavior and shaped it into more meaningful interactions. He definitely appears to be a guy who knows what he wants and will continue to help anyone who is around him understand what he is trying to say! When Jake is having a conversation, I noticed that he wants his partner to be close and often will take their hand as he is using his device. That let's him know that his partner is "listening" to him and engaged in the conversation with him.
Communication and literacy development are so closely related. The use of routines, schedules and color coding his picture symbols helped him to develop more concepts and understand relationships between symbols and language. I also noticed that they have labeled drawers in his room with pictures and the written word. That helped him understand that things have names and there is a place for things to go- two very imprtant concepts.
As he started using a voice output device, Dee talked about letting him play with software. They also found that using a lighted background would keep his attention. Allowing him to develop curiosity and have exposure is key to developing skills. Noticing little things and modifying will sometimes have the most impact.
Jake's brother said that he learned patience from Jake. I believe Jake has been very patient as he waited for the folks around him to get his message and will continue to be patient as he teaches others.
Check out Jake's Literacy story here: https://nationaldb.org/pages/show/meet-jake-steinbach/literacy