Sensorimotor Spotlight

Supporting Learners with Visual & Multiple Impairments

Case Studies: Collaboration for Learner and Educator Growth

Happy New Year! We are thrilled that so many of you have found the Sensorimotor Spotlight useful in your work with learners with visual and multiple impairments, and we hope you'll continue to join us throughout 2021!

We are happy to have our first Case Study to share this month (All identifying information has been changed). Case studies were a foundation for growth for our team during our time consulting with Millie Smith in our district. Each month, our teachers were given a substitute for part of a day so our entire team could spend time reviewing a learner's progress from each of our Active Learning Classrooms. During this process, teachers gained deeper insight, and we all learned so much by analyzing the practices in different scenarios. This still is, by far, the best professional development our team has ever had!

We hope this case study will serve this purpose for you, and we hope you will consider sharing a case study with us as well!

Case Study: Meet Lauren

Diagnosis: The student has a diagnosis of Rett’s Syndrome. Student performance in activities seems to indicate stage 2 functioning and also shows behaviors associated in stage 3. Current Elibilities: Other Health Impairment (Rett’s) Autism Speech Impairment.  Current Communication Modes: Receptive Communication Object Calendar  Expressive Communication Vocalizations Gestures (clapping) Move to person.
Lauren is a new student in an Active Learning classroom. The teachers put together a daily schedule and some basic routines involving daily care needs to provide some structure and predictability in Lauren's school day. However, the teachers are struggling to keep Lauren engaged in the routines. In order to get information on her sensory preferences and understanding of objects, the team completed a Sensory Response Record. They noted her preferences seem to change day to day (a characteristic of Rett's syndrome.)
The Sensory Response Record indicates that Lauren is demonstrating understanding of function and exploration of objects. She seems to engage with tactile/sensory materials like play-dough, water, and shaving cream with a high intensity.
Screen shot of pie chart indicating pretty even distribution of exploratory schemes and a variety of independent and prompting levels
The team also completed the exploration schemes form to determine if there are exploration strategies that can be taught. The data shows that she is able to perform many movements to explore with minimal prompting or independently.

The team uses all of this data to draft goals for an upcoming IEP meeting.

Goal Ideas:

The team is considering these goals based on their data:

Within 36 instructional weeks, the student will be able to independently initiate a minimum of three steps within a familiar functional routine with no more than one indirect cue needed over three consecutive data collection days.

Within 36 instructional weeks the student will read her daily object schedule from left to right by independently reaching into the “now” container, removing the object, and visually or physically engaging with the object in 3 out of 4 opportunities.

Within 36 instructional weeks, the student will complete a task by putting the object symbol in the finished container with no more than 2 physical cues at her elbow in 2 out of 4 opportunities.

Within 36 instructional weeks, when engaging in a structured explore routine with a partner, the student will participate by taking turns and/or making exchanges for 5 minutes for 3 out of 5 weekly opportunities.

Case Study Wrap Up

We love how the team was able to use the data from the Sensory Response Record and Exploration Schemes to drive goals.

Our team would recommend creating an instructional routine involving tactile materials that she loves or that have similar qualities. A routine like this one could embed all of the new IEP goals into one routine. Motivating materials could be used with functional and exploration steps.

We are so thankful for the teachers who shared this with us and look forward to hearing of Lauren's progress. Do you have any recommendations to add? Email:

A Message from Millie

Image of Mille Smith

One at a time

I love case studies. Years ago, a friend told me the starfish story. Some of you know it. If you don’t, I will do my best to sum it up. A man is walking on the beach. He sees something in the sand in front of him. As he gets closer, he realizes it is hundreds of stranded starfish. He begins picking them up, one at a time, and throwing them back in the water. Another man walks up and says, “You are wasting your time. There are too many of them. The few you can save won’t make a difference.” The first man picks up a starfish, throws it into the water, and says, “It made a difference to that one.”

We need to celebrate all the ways we make a difference, not just the ones most valued on a system wide, policy driven level. Teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, related service specialists, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, care providers, extended family members, administrators, and all the other people who have the privilege of spending time with learners with severe disabilities on a daily basis know they are making a difference. When I hear them talk about something wonderful they saw happen with an individual learner, I celebrate. These people aren’t thinking about improved standardized test scores. They are celebrating the accomplishment of some skill that allows an individual they care about to live a more fulfilling life.


Sensorimotor Subscription Boxes

Please share this new resource with families! The ECC & Me has opened an Etsy shop with monthly themed boxes, and there is one specifically for sensorimotor learners! Boxes will include a book, objects, and resources for the learning partner.

We hope your year starts off well and are excited about sharing in the journey with you!

Stacey Chambers, TVI

Angela Campbell, Adapted PE Teacher

Allison Clark, PT

Wendy Pray, Active Learning Teacher

Millie Smith, Consultant for Learners with Visual and Multiple Impairments

Tristan Pierce, American Printing House for the Blind

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