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This article was originally published in the Spring 2004 edition of See/Hear Newsletter.
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Melanie Knapp, Parent, Missouri City, TX

Abstract: A mother shares her thoughts about connecting with her son, who is deafblind, while reading an experience book together at the doctor’s office.

Key Words: deafblind, family, personal story, experience books, expanded core curriculum

Editor’s Note: Melanie shared this story during the Transition Weekend we held February 21-22, 2004. I’ve asked her to share it with you, as I think it really brings home how anyone can access a story about an experience they are familiar with and “read” it with someone else. If you would like to learn more about experience books, including how to make your own, you can read the article “Creating and Using Tactile Experience Books for Young Children With Visual Impairments” by Sandra Lewis. You may access the article in the See/Hear archives at .

Gary and I picked up Christian, our 23-year-old son who is deafblind, from school one day so that we could take him to his doctor’s appointment. His intervener, Ann Bielert, and Christian had been to Whataburger that day, and had made an experience book about their trip. Christian brought his book home with him so we could talk about it. On each page of the book, they had glued an item they picked up on their trip beside a tactile calendar symbol that related to the item. For example, they had taken the plastic lid and straw from his drink and glued it next to his symbol for drink. While we were waiting in the examining room for the doctor, I pulled the book out so we could read it together. Christian and I read each page. He would feel the symbol, and I would sign to him, and then help him sign it. We were having the best time; he was smiling and laughing. We were just about finished reading when the doctor came in and asked what we were doing. Well, this was the perfect opportunity for me to I did. We read the book again. Christian enjoyed it just as much. Meanwhile, his other doctor came in, and she wanted to know about Christian’s book. We read it again. I was so proud of Christian. He loved it just as much the third time as he did the first. We laughed. Everyone was so impressed and had lots of questions.

This was “one of those moments” that you cherish and remember. It was the most incredible experience for me. We read this book together and I know he understood everything we talked about.