Children at the earliest developmental levels (birth to an emotional level of 2 years) will typically need the adult to utilize the techniques in Phases 1-3. Only when the child is developed emotionally to the level of 24 months will an adult use Phase 4 and then later Phase 5 with the learner.

A boy and an adult draw on the pavement with chalk.

Adult's Role

The focus of the activity should be on interaction or turn-taking between the adult and the learner.  

The choice of activity while interacting with the learner is based on the learner's emotional level, his/her motor skills, interests, dislikes and need for repetition. 

The adult sets up situations and environments that will foster interactive games such as you push it and I will pull it, or you give me a sound, now I'll give you a sound. 

It is important for the adult to be patient and wait for the learner to take his/her turn without trying to persuade the learner to act. Simply be quiet and still. 

General Guidance

If the learner is trying to complete a motor skill that he/she has not yet mastered but matches his/her motor development, the adult can say, “You can help me.”

If the learner is using his/her hands, the adult needs to provide every opportunity for the learner to familiarize him/herself with the activity and participate.  The learner must be allowed to complete the movement when he/she wants to do it.  The adult can model the activity as close to the learner’s hands as the individual will allow. This allows the learner to have control of his/her hands.  The learner can withdraw them whenever the learner needs to. 

If the learner withdraws or turns away, then the adult may have proceeded too quickly to the stage of interaction, and should return to the stage of imitation or even offering.


The purposes of the Phase of Interaction are:

Below is an example of a student and teacher interacting during a trip to visit a drum store.  Later the student shares the experience with his speech therapist by way of a tactile symbol book.

Phase 3 Interaction: Jarvis at the Drum Store

Original webcast date: 09/01/2016
Description: A student with deafblindness and his teacher explore instruments at a drum store. Afterwards, the student uses an experience book with tactile symbols to share the experience with a different teacher. Several things to notice in this video:

Downloads: Transcript (txt) Audio (mp3)

Interaction collage

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