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Jake's Literacy Story

Family Engagement

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:

Nancy Steele

Posted Feb 9, 2016 by Nancy Steele

3 277 views
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Comments (3)

Jake has always been an interesting student to work with on a variety of tasks. When asked to provide consulting services by a local district to help develop his vocational routines, I noticed how consistent he was on certain tasks; and (of course) patient. Given time to communicate, he was more expressive. At one job site, he was sorting parts then walked over to a para. When he got no response, he walked over to a container that had the parts he needed and carried them back to his work area.

Later, when he was at the Kansas School for the Blind, I had an opportunity to develop an online portfolio for him that consisted of pictures and videos that illustrated his potential in vocational routines and use of communication. During this process as I edited videos, and adding text captioning about the key elements of the routine, I again saw how unique this young man is.

Robert Taylor

Posted Feb 22, 2016 by Robert Taylor

I have to add, in his "patients" at communicating with us, he would try a variety of modes, pointing, gesturing and using objects or other symbols that were handy sometimes for hours or even over several days. However, he would want to talk about things that were in the past or ask when something was coming, which were not easy to represent without core language. He would spend hours trying to get one point across until he got his device with core language. Before he got a core language system that he could generate unique messages with, we were as frustrated as he was at not being able to answer his questions or comments satisfactorily.
I have to say, initially my goal was not literacy, but communication. However, we had some great support and training along the way that helped us understand how the two were linked and how we could use literacy for both for receptive and expressive communication.

Dee Steinbach

Posted Feb 9, 2016 by Dee Steinbach

Thanks Nancy for sharing your thoughts about Jake's story. It's true that communication and literacy go hand-in-hand and you are spot on when you say Jake had to be patient with his communication partners! It's not always an easy thing for him to do!

Megan Cote

Posted Feb 9, 2016 by Megan Cote

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