Enhancing activity by means of tactile symbols: A study of a heterogeneous group of pupils with congenital blindness, intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder

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This study investigates responses to verbal versus tactile requests in children with congenital blindness, intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Observation was conducted on two occasions. At T1, requests were given verbally, and at T2, tactile requests were given. All pupils perceived tactile symbols to be explicit requests to perform the act referred to by the symbols. The children seldom or never followed verbal requests. All children followed more tactile than verbal requests. Individual differences in verbal skills, motivations and the complexity of the activity are discussed. The availability of tactile symbols for individuals with congenital blindness, intellectual disability and ASD seems to increase their level of activity and their participation in school. (…

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