Overview of Thematic PhotoBooks Method

Why Photography?

Pictures are attractive to children. By participating in photo activities, children are exposed to a multi-sensory environment of seeing, hearing, touching, and even smelling or tasting, all of which promote learning. In addition, handling a camera helps a child acquire a variety of different kinds of skills: attention to detail, hand-eye coordination, and interactive attention span.
With the introduction of digital cameras, photography has become an easily accessible communication tool. Taking pictures is now a “piece of cake.” It is so easy; even three year olds can take pictures! More excitingly, using digital photography to develop personalized Thematic PhotoBooks, children and young adults who have limitations in their ability to interact with others can document and communicate their experiences while creating new worlds of possibilities.

What are Thematic PhotoBooks?

A Thematic PhotoBook is a tool in the learning process which helps exceptional children learn academic concepts and acquire life skills in a creative and enjoyable way. By life skills, we mean any skill which helps an individual with special needs to lead a more independent, productive, and enjoyable life.

The Thematic PhotoBooks learning process is a person-centered, empowering approach that creates a naturally motivating environment in which children or young adults use photography as a learning tool.

How Much Does It Cost?

This learning approach is very accessible! All you need is a digital camera and some office and art supplies to create and assemble a PhotoBook. A computer with printer is desirable, but not necessary.

How Do We Use It with Individuals v. Groups?

When working with an individual, emphasis is placed on developing a productive, trusting relationship between the adult and the child being assisted. Equally important is the importance of carefully fine-tuning the program to a child’s interests, personality, and skill set.

In the case of a group setting, focus on a common goal and positive group dynamics are used to motivate participants. These promote an interpersonal relationship with an adult, as well as between children in the group. Being part of a group that is completely a project together is key. Helping each other, imitating others, learning from peers, and building team work skills are wonderful outcomes of working with peer groups.

A description of how the Thematic PhotoBook process works is explained in the Articles and Workbooks Section of this web site.

Examples of Thematic PhotoBooks (TPB) about Daily Living Skills

Learning Daily Living Skills using TPBs methodology could be very useful and pleasurable. It's always fun to pose for the pictures and kids try to do a good job. Photo is a good evidence that a child is able to perform this or that action. So, TPB could be a good motivation and a source of pride for a child. This process allows a child to learn many different skills simultaneously. We show here examples of 3 TPB and one of them describes the process in more details.