Making Your Own
Dr. Nielsen designed various "perceptualizing aids" or equipment to facilitate activity in individuals with multiple disabilities. A key factor in the development of these aides was to allow the learner to be an active participant when positioned in supine (on back), prone (on stomach), in sitting, or standing. Each piece of equipment was put through a rigorous testing and design process to achieve the optimum learning environment for the individual with special needs. Factors such as maximum responsiveness, safety, air-flow, and vibratory qualities were considered. It is recommended that only authentic Active Learning equipment be utilized. The authorized dealer in the United States is LilliWorks (www.lilliworks.org). You can find a list of this equipment on the Active Learning Space website: Things You Should Buy.
Dr. Nielsen also developed or approved of some perceptualizing aides or equipment that can be hand made by professionals, caregivers, parents, and volunteers. Plans that can be downloaded from the Active Learning Space site under the Equipment dropdown menu: Things You Can Make.
can have items strung vertically or horizontally, as shown in the examples below.
Caution must be used to determine appropriate items to be attached to the board. Do not use any items that pose a choking hazard, that are easily broken, or that have sharp edges. The builder is responsible for the safety of the child using the equipment.
The items placed on a board are determined by the developmental level of the child or children to play with the board. Evaluate items for sensory characteristics – visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, and taste. Evaluate an item for the skill needed to manipulate it – pushing, batting, grasping, pulling, scratching, taking apart, putting together, etc. Ensure that items can be compared to others of size, weight, shape, etc.
A board that requires skills that are too developmental high or too low for a child will not promote active learning, and may result in limited or stereotypical activity or no activity at all.