Monday, October 19, 2009

posts from recent emails

Steve requested I place some of our emails here on the blog. Here they are.

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Sorry I've been absent from this discussion all day as I have been out of town. I have thought more about this and I don't want to underestimate the abilities of the young children in this project. I don't know these students so maybe they are not as involved as the students I am accustomed to working with over the years. And are we talking 3, 4, or 5 year olds? There is a BIG difference in even 6 months in regards to cognitive and conceptual development.

I can agree with trying using the feedback in the left ear to see if the child will move more toward this side etc. Young children are typically adept at moving toward sound sources. So this might work for a child who doesn't really have a deep understanding of laterality. It might result in more of a move toward the direction of the sound in my ear type behavior, instead of a conceptual understanding of straight line travel. But if using the Wii feedback system illicits the desired behavior, this is a good thing.

In response to Gene's comment - Here's my big problem with this and maybe Bonnie or you could explain so my simple mind can get it . . . what's the difference between learning the word RIGHT and what it means, from learning a particular sound and what it means. They seem like very similar cognitive tasks. Both use the auditory pathways, both require the child to understand the difference between lef/right, and both require the child to pair a label (sound or word) with the proper concept and react to it. So what's the difference and why would one be better/easier than the other? In my gut I would suspect the word would be easier. But what the heck do I know!?

I understand this and am I don't disagree. What I am questioning is the conceptual understanding of left/right in children 4 and under.

I need to seek out literature on children learning the concepts of laterality. It has been my experience that blind children, even as young as age 4, can respond correctly to "touch your right ear", "touch your left foot", etc but they don't truly understand more advanced concepts such as "move your cane tip to the right", "turn your body left", until months or a year after they understand they have two of some body parts, and a left and a right side. You can see this development when you administer the Cratty & Sams Body Image for Blind Children checklist. Maybe we should ask the O&M specialist to do this with each child before data collection. It only takes about 20 minutes per child. This starts with body parts, then body planes, laterality, manipulating objects in relation to body to demonstrate spatial understanding of laterality, movements to left/rigth and directionality (left/right on others). I'll dig this instrument up and attach a file tomorrow.

Finally, what percentage of the subjects are children age 5 and under? If what we develop works for school age children and adults, then the project has accomplished some of it goals, right?


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Hi everyone! I just saw a video by Dr. Bil Hawkins who used a WHISTLE to give feedback for veering while crossing the street. Now, I would never, ever suggest that we distract students while crossing streets by sending them coded messages about their veering (perfect scenario for the need for isolated veering training OFF THE STREET with the wiicane!), but this auditory feedback might be something that could work with Wiicane. We can ask Bil for details, but from the video it seemed that if the student veered a little to the left, he got a long, slow descending whistle. If he veered sharply to the right, he got a quick rising whistle. Bonnie, do you think kids who can't remember L-R could learn that if the "left veer" (descending) whistle was played in the left ear it meant they had veered to the left, and if the "right veer" (rising) whistle was played in the right ear, they had veeered to the right? P.S. I tried to log into the blog to publish my comments, it said it was emailing me my new password but I've gotten no message. So I'll continue to email comments, hope that's okay. -- Dona

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