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Gordon Dutton’s Blog 25

One day I was playing with my 10 month old son.

He had just had lunch and was sitting at table.

The table cloth was plain and white, and there was a single yellow toy duck on the table.

He reached for it and picked it up.

Just after he had picked it up, I said 'Duck', to give his experience a name.

(I spoke the word prolonging each element, the consonants and the vowel)

I next put a little white carrier bag on the table.

He reached for it.

I said 'Bag'.

We repeated this together a few times.

He then put the duck into the bag.

I said "Duck in bag'.

He pulled the duck out.

I said 'Get duck'.

He loved this game and we repeated the whole process a number of times.

He then stopped and looked around to exchange happy smiles with his mother.

Once they had stopped I said 'Duck in bag'.

He immediately reached for the duck and with a giggle put it into the bag.

I then said 'Get duck'.

Wearing a big smile, he immediately took the duck out of the bag.

My little boy had learned to understand two sentences.

This brief interchange took place without interruption. He was strapped into his high chair, so wasn't thinking about moving about. There was little to see and hear, and few other distractions, and my son was having fun.

This meant he could learn quickly.

The brain of a child with marked cerebral visual impairment, can often respond in the same way as that of a young child in conditions of...

  • Comfort
  • No hunger
  • Happiness
  • No sound or visual distraction
  • Toys that are visible and large enough to reach for accurately
  • Single clearly spoken slightly prolonged simple meaningful words repeatedly labelling experiences just after they have happened

This is because the brain processes information in space and time.

For my son...

  • The number of items to see was minimal, so they could be focussed on.
  • He led, I followed.
  • Everything was done at the my son's pace of perception (both sight and sound).
  • At first, descriptive words followed his actions.
  • Meaning was given through repeated clear basic language.

It was by applying the KISS principle (Keep It Slow and Simple), with MEaning that my young son was able to learn so well and so quickly.

Let's call it the KISS ME approach :-)

All children (and adults) learn well when these ideas are applied, not least those with cerebral visual impairment.

The KISS ME! approach: Keep it slow and simple, and meaningful.

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