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Story-time Case Study

This example shows the approach to successfully accessing learning as explained in the short introductory section Access. The term perceivable is used specifically to mean perceivable through one, or more of the five senses of vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell.

If something is not perceivable, particularly through sight and sound, then the person can have no awareness of it, and it isn't there for them.

Amelia is eleven and did not like being read stories (story-time).

When Amelia was read stories, this also involved practicing her reading.

1. Why was story-time challenging for Amelia?

  • Was story-time perceivable for Amelia?

Not always. When Amelia's family were reading to her, Amelia was being asked to both listen and at times read the story herself. Reading is difficult for Amelia due to her visual impairment. Amelia has both CVI and a cerebral auditory impairment and for her, having to do something that entails using both her hearing and vision at the same time is very difficult, and as a result, in this case, when reading (which is visually very difficult), Amelia effectively stopped hearing.

  • Was story-time meaningful for Amelia?

Not always. To understand the story being read to her, Amelia needed to listen, but she was also being asked to read, which needed a lot of effort. Amelia found having to both listen and read meant she could not follow the story very well. For this reason Amelia always chose one of two books she already knew well.

  • Was Amelia Motivated?

No, Amelia found the process challenging and would quickly become tired, and then disinterested.

2. How was story-time made accessible for Amelia?

  • How was story-time made perceivable for Amelia?

This experience was about storytelling, the simple process of listening whilst someone else reads you a story. Amelia's mother stopped asking Amelia to read during story-time, so that Amelia could concentrate on the story she was listening to.

  • How was story-time made meaningful for Amelia?

Amelia could now focus on listening, without the difficult distraction of trying to read too. The stories, including new stories she had not heard before made sense now, because she could fully concentrate on them.

  • Was Amelia motivated?

All the pressure to read was removed, and Amelia could relax and not only enjoy listening to new stories, but also really enjoy the quiet story-time with her mother and others close who also read to her.

3. The successful approach

  • Firstly, with an understanding of Amelia, one had to consider what it was about story-time that she didn't enjoy. This requires an understanding of how Amelia experiences her world. This was established following a pathway and can be read in Amelia's Great Climb. With this understanding it became clear that part of story-time was not wholly perceivable to Amelia, the reading bit. Reading is a separate skill Amelia finds extremely challenging, and by mixing it with story-time, it made story-time challenging too.
  • Amelia's mother explained to Amelia a new approach they were going to try, where story-time would be just about sitting together, listening to a story, and Amelia would not be asked to read. This conversation was important, otherwise Amelia may have been confused as to why things had changed. This also meant that Amelia was part of this decision, and so the approach involved her.
  • Story-time without reading was an immediate success for Amelia. Amelia enjoyed story-time so much she started picking up new language, asking for the meaning of words she didn't know.
  • With a new love of books and being read to, Amelia is more motivated to improve her reading skills.
  • Here, to make story-time perceivable for Amelia, something needed to be removed not added. Being asked to read was difficult, and made the experience of enjoying story-time much harder for Amelia.

You can read about how Amelia accessed story-time in our section Reading To Your Child For Fun.

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At CVI Scotland we are devoted to helping people understand cerebral visual impairments, and together working towards developing the understanding of this complex condition.