Celebrate Deaf-Blind Week: Simple Lesson Plans

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mash: education / homeschool / special needs / deaf-blind


Every year, from June 24th – June 30th, people around the world celebrate Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Week. This is an awareness week for a very small, but interesting community. And here at That’s Mashed Up we are celebrating by providing some simple to follow lesson plans.

  You might be asking yourself: “But why should children not directly connected to the deaf/blind community learn about it?” Well, here are a few good reasons that you should teach your children about the deaf/blind:

  • learning about the deaf/blind community can help teach empathy
  • learning about the deaf/blind community can help teach children that people with “disabilities” can be extremely “able”
  • learning about the deaf/blind community can expose children new language
  • learning about the deaf/blind community can expose children to an interesting niche of possible careers

Check out two lesson plans for parents and home-schoolers. They are designed to be super simple. We also included some printables you can use.    

deaf-blind week celebrated with free lesson plansLesson Idea for Preschoolers

Goal: Introduce child to the concept of deaf-blind, emphasizing that deaf-blind individuals can communicate and hold other skills. The concept of deaf-blindness can be difficult for anyone, especially preschoolers, to understand. Therefore the lesson should be kept simple.   1. SAY: Talk to you child about what it means to be deaf or blind. Possible starter questions: What kinds of things do you see around you? How would you know where you were if you couldn’t see? What kinds of things do you hear? What kinds of things couldn’t you enjoy if you could not hear? 2. SHOW: Show the child the cartoon “Animated Hero Classics: Helen Keller”. You can buy this online, find it in the library, or watch portions of it online. 3. DO: This is a great opportunity allow students to enhance their sense of touch while learning about one challenge deaf-blind might experience. You can do this by creating a sensory cave, but making sure the materials in the cave are silent. Learn how to make a sensory cave here.      

Lesson Idea for Older Kids

(NOTE: You can get a printable copy of this lesson plan, along with an answer guide, at the bottom of this post, or you can click here.)   Goals: Re-enforce the idea that deaf/blind people are capable, exposure to tactile sign language, exposure to jobs that serve the needs of the deaf/blind   1) Who Is Helen Keller? (answers in the printable copy) Directions: Use this link below to learn about Helen Keller, and then answer the questions below.  

  • How did Helen Keller become deaf/blind?
  • Why did some of Keller’s relatives think she should have been institutionalized?
  • Why do you think that Keller’s family visited several specialist before coming in contact with Anne Sullivan?
  • What kind of challenge do you imagine Sullivan faced when teaching Keller vocabulary?
  • Why do you think Mark Twain was impressed by Keller?
  • What do you think it says about Keller that she graduated cum laude from Radcliff college?
  • What do you think it says about Sullivan that she dedicated herself to helping Keller attend college?
  • What is one achievement of Helen Keller that you find most interesting?
  • What is one thing you can learn from the life of Keller and Sullivan?

  BONUS: Research the achievements of modern deaf-blind persons online. Write a short paragraph below describing them, and their achievements. Also include the location where you found a MLA-style bibliography to show the source of the information. The website easybib.com can be of help with this.     2) Job Investigation: Tactile Sign Language Interpreter (answers vary, so no answer guide needed) Directions: Research the job of a tactile sign language interpreter. Fill in as much factual information as possible on part 1. Try to use a current information as possible. Be aware that tactile sign language interpreter information will most likely be bulked in with sign language interpreter information. Below are included a few websites that might be of assistance.     See a tactile signer in action: Video: http://youtu.be/l11lahuiHLA Transcript for above video: http://www.protactile.org/pt-vlog—1.html See how a deaf-blind enjoied the World Cup, 2014: http://youtu.be/TK2AgzBBvKw http://www.deafwebsites.com/sign-language/career-sign-language-interpreter.html http://www.bls.gov/ooh/a-z-index.htm http://www.aadb.org/information/interpreting/tip_for_interpreters.html   Part 1

  • Describe the role of a tactile sign language interpreter.
  • What is the average income of a tactile sign language interpreters?
  • What types of environments do tactile sign language interpreters work in?
  • What type of education and credentials do tactile sign language interpreters need?
  • Is the need for tactile sign language interpreter expected to go up or down in the next few years?

Part 2

  • What part of this job do you think would be the most difficult?
  • What part of this job do you think would be the most rewarding?
  • What skills, personality traits, or attributes do you possess that might make you good at this job?
  • What obstacles might deter you from pursuing this job?



How To Make A Sensory Cave Deaf-Blind Lesson Plan and Answer Guide

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  • Robin Rue

    Those are GREAT lessons and such a great way to teach kids to be understanding and compassionate.

  • http://www.EarningFreeMoney.com/ Louida M

    I never thought about teaching my children about deaf/blind disabilities. They actually know what it is but these are some great lessons to share with them. Thanks!

  • http://familylivingonabudget.blogspot.com/ Anna

    Great lessons! I hadn’t thought to do this with my kids.

  • Kung Phoo

    I think this is really great! Kids need to know there are people out there that are different, but if you can communicate with them, they are not that different.

  • CouponDivaAndi

    i think it’s great that children are aware of those with physical and mental chalenges of ALL kinds….

  • Sarh Snarski

    Awesome! Never thought to look for lesson plans on such a topic!

  • Joanna Sormunen

    Great lesson plans! And such an important topic! Thank you for inspiring people and promoting awereness!

  • Meredith@MommyAtoZ

    These are great ideas and an important topic. I agree that it’s important to teach kids about empathy. I’m going to try some of the ideas for preschoolers!

  • Esther

    Great ways to help kids understand what it is all about! My oldest girl loves learning sign language.

  • Melodi Steinberg

    Great lessons! I am looking forward to teaching these to my 8 year old!

  • Lavende

    Very interesting, it is so important to teach the little ones about what it means to not have sight or hearing so that they can better empathize. Thanks for the tips!

  • http://artpark78.com/blog1 yonawilliams

    I remember when I sung a solo for ‘We Shall Overcome’ for a play on Martin Luther King Jr, for elementary school and then for the last verse, we all signed it. It’s amazing how all of these years later, I still remember how to do that. Your post just reminded me of that.

  • Teresa McCluskey

    I think that all children at a young age should learn that there are others that are different in this world!

  • mommamellon

    Great lesson ideas. Every child should understand acceptance and that we are all the same we just communicate differently

  • Elayna ~ The Positive MOM

    I love this post! Teaching our children empathy is critical for their socio-emotional development, and for happiness in life. Helen Keller is one of my role models for sure. I love her soul!

  • Lexie Lane

    Wow! These are so helpful. Sometimes the most difficult things to teach a child are things with emotion. These are such great ways. Compassion is definitely what these will be helpful for.

  • http://www.iheartartsncrafts.com Jackie Houston

    These are great I will be using these for my kids!

  • CouponDivaAndi

    keep comin back to this one – it’s SO important that we acknowledge those with physical and mental challenges of ALL kinds…

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