Articles Related to Active Learning

Articles by Dr. Lilli Nielsen

Active Learning and the Blind, Multiply Disabled Child

Future Reflections, 2004
This article is an edited version (with permission of the author) of the introduction and the first chapter of her book, Early Learning Step by Step: Children with Vision Impairment And Multiple Disabilities. Following the article is a review of the book and information on how to order it and other materials developed by Dr. Nielsen for use with blind children who have additional disabilities.

Cortical Visual Impairment: Causes and Manifestations, Scottish Sensory Centre.  

(This article was originally published in “Refsnaes-Nyt”, No 38, September 1993).

An article written for the Scottish Sensory Centre detailing Lilli’s thoughts about assessing children with cortical visual impairments. This article was written at a time when professionals were just beginning to learn about CVI.

Cortical Vision Impairment: Using the Sense of Sight as a Secondary Sensory Modality,  

Scottish Sensory Centre.(This article first appeared in Danish in Refsnaes-Nyt, no 41, 1994.)
A brief article discussing Anne and Jacob, two children with CVI. Lilli emphasizes these case studies can not be definitive because every child with CVI is different from any other child.

Active Learning and Educational Approaches By Other Authors

The Active Learning Approach: Using the Resonance Board and the Little Room with Young Blind and Multiply Disabled Children

By Gigi Newton, Future Reflections, 2012.
This article, as its title suggests discusses the use of a Little Room and Resonance Board with children.


By Kate Moss Hurst, Deafblind Education Consultant, Texas Deafblind Outreach

This article explains how Active Learning, an educational approach developed by Dr. Lilli Nielsen, can be used to provide instruction for students with the most profound disabilities in both the standard curriculum and the expanded core curriculum.

Developing my Classroom for Secondary-Aged Students Who Aren’t Actively Engaging with People or Objects

By Suzanne Becker, TSBVI
A TVI and classroom teacher describes how she serves her secondary-level students who are visually and multiply impaired using Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning approach along with other strategies. 

Five Phases of Educational Treatment Used in Active Learning

By Kate Moss Hurst, TSBVI
This article focuses on five phases of educational approaches that teachers are to use in working with children if they are using an Active Learning theory approach. It summarizes the information first published as part of Dr. Nielsen’s book, Are You Blind?.

Incorporating Active Learning Theory into Activity Routines

By Stacy Shafer and Kate Moss Hurst, TSBVI
This article focuses on Phase IV and V of Lilli Nielsen’s five educational phases of educational treatment outlined in her book, Are You Blind?, and how the Active Learning principles can be incorporated into activity routines.

An Introduction to Dr. Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning

By Stacy Shafer, TSBVI
This article by Stacy Shafer discusses some of the basic strategies of Dr. Lilli Nielsen’s Active Learning Theory. 

Job One for Educators: Becoming a Good Playmate

By Stacy Shafer and Kate Moss Hurst, TSBVI
If children learn through play, then we must become better playmates in order to facilitate better learning for the child.

Lilli Nielsen FIELA Curriculum in Action: The Skylands School Experience

By Cathy Bailey, OT; Rosemarie Lakawicz, PT; Toni Vidro, Head Teacher; and Linda Zani Thomas, Parent, Ringwood, New Jersey

In this article written for NFB Convention 2003, this group from Skylands School for the Exceptional shares their experience with the FIELA Curriculum.

Resonance Boards

By David Brown, CDBS
This article by David Brown of California Deaf-Blind Services discusses how to make and use a Resonance Board. 

Some Thoughts On What Makes “Little Rooms” Good Learning Environments

By Millie Smith and Stacy Shafer, TSBVI
In this article, Millie and Stacy discuss some of the factors that seem to be crucial in the design and use of the Little Room.

Tactual Skills for Students with Visual Impairments

Adapted by Kate Moss Hurst, TSBVI
This factsheet includes information taken from Teaching Students with Visual and Multiple Impairments A Resource Guide, by Millie Smith and Nancy Levack. Published by TSBVI. It lists various tactile skills and provides functional examples of what the child will do to demonstrate these skills.

Taking a Look at the FIELA Curriculum: 730 Learning Environments by Dr. Lilli Nielsen  

By Kate Moss Hurst
This article is based on a book by Dr. Lilli Nielsen titled The FIELA Curriculum: 730 Learning Environments and lists the developmental behaviors in three-month increments as described in this book.

Talking the Language of the Hands to the Hands

By Barbara Miles, Perkins School for the Blind

This factsheet explores the role that the hands play in typical development, and in the development of children who are blind, children who are deaf, and children who are deaf-blind. Strategies for facilitating hand development are discussed. The Full Article is also available.  Miles, B. (2003, October). Talking the language of the hands to the hands. DB-Link: The National Information Clearinghouse on Children Who Are DeafBlind. Monmouth, Oregon. Retrieved: hands.pdf 

Miles, B., Nelson, E., and Pellerin R., 2015. CDCI Research into Practice, Summary 3.

University of Vermont, Center on Disability and Community  Inclusion.
This article provides a summary of their research looking at hand use with children. 

The Importance of Touch

By Peggy Sinclair-Morris, Technical Assistance Coordinator at The Kentucky Deaf-Blind Project, Dept. of  Early Childhood Education, Special Education, & Rehabilitation Counseling, University of Kentucky.
An article on Paths to Literacy helps bring home the importance of co-active touch during our interactions with children who are blind or DeafBlind.

Touch: A Critical Sense for Individuals with Visual Impairments

By Kate Moss Hurst, TSBVI
A factsheet that includes information about the importance of touch for individuals with visual impairments and suggestions for things that your child might enjoy exploring through touch adapted from Space and Self, Nielsen, L. 1992.

The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young ChildrenPower of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children


This article discusses the importance of play in developing the brains of young children.

Attractive Objects

Adapted by Kate Moss Hurst, TSBVI
This is a fact sheet that includes a list of objects that might be used in Active Learning activities and environments suggested in Lilli’s book Space and Self.

Family Experiences with Active Learning

Connecting with Jimmy

By Sue Elan Holmes
This article is edited from a presentation given at the North American Active Learning Convention sponsored by the Lilliworks Foundation, in the San Francisco area in February of 2005. It includes the definition of Active Learning followed by what Holme’s has to say about her experience with the Little Room, and what the Active Learning approach has meant for her son, Jimmy.

The Little Room, Ladybug Hugs

By Melissa Nimijohn

In this blog article, Melissa shares her experiencing with using a Little Room with her daughter.

What My Daughter Taught Me About Active Learning or Whose Goal Is It?

By Jean Bugbee
A parent shares her journey in encouraging her daughter’s learning through play—on her own terms at home and at school.

Information about Equipment Design

How to Make a Texture Board to Scratch, Grab, Hold & Release

This factsheet developed by TSBVI details how to make a Scratch, Grab, Hold & Release Board. It also includes information on selection of materials and hand skills discussed in the Functional Scheme.

Resonance Board and Little Room Design Information

Reprint of handout developed by TSBVI with the approval of Dr. Lilli Nielsen giving details about the design and construction of a Little Room and Resonance Board.