(Science Activities for the Visually Impaired/Science Enrichment for Learners with Physical Handicaps)


The SAVI/SELPH program was originally developed to meet the science learning needs of students with disabilities in grades 3-8, but since its inception it has found significant application in regular upper-elementary classrooms. Hands-on science is a powerful medium for bringing all students together.

The SAVI/SELPH Program is the combined output of two projects from the Lawrence Hall of Science funded by the U.S. Department of Education: Science Activities for the Visually Impaired (SAVI) and Science Enrichment for Learners with Physical Handicaps (SELPH). SAVI came first (1976-79). Our goal was to produce a series of science enrichment activities for blind and visually impaired students in grades 3-8. We developed specialized equipment and new procedures to insure full access to science learning for blind youngsters. We sent the SAVI project materials to various locations around the country for field-testing and made a most interesting discovery: SAVI activities worked with students with other disabilities!

This revelation led to the SELPH Project (1980-83). SELPH had two major goals: to adapt and modify SAVI materials and procedures to be appropriate for students with orthopedic disabilities and learning disabilities, and to research instructional settings in which the SAVI activities could most effectively be used in full-inclusion classrooms (mainstreamed classrooms in 1980).

Today, SAVI/SELPH remains an interdisciplinary, multisensory science enrichment program that has been used effectively with students who are blind or visually impaired, physically disabled, learning disabled, hearing impaired, developmentally delayed, and yes, non-disabled students, too.

The Full Option Science System (FOSS) program has its roots in the multisensory approach developed in SAVI/SELPH. Many of the procedures found to be effective with students with disabilities in SAVI/SELPH have been incorporated into the materials and procedures used with all students in the FOSS program. The FOSS program has been designed to maximize the science learning opportunities for students with disabilities and students from culturally and linguistically diverse origins.

The SAVI/SELPH Product
The program is composed of three major components available from the Center for Multisensory Learning at the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Folios. The printer teacher activity guides (lesson plans) are called folios. Four to seven folios on one subject are packaged together as a module. The SAVI/SELPH program had nine different modules, each encompassing a separate content area. The print materials are no longer available as modules, but individual folios are available as long as the supply lasts.

Teacher Preparation Videos. Six of the nine modules have teacher preparation videos in which SAVI/SELPH staff demonstrate for the teacher how to set up the activities in each module. These videos are no longer available for purchase, but plans are in the works to digitize them and make them available for online viewing.

Equipment. Orders for SAVI/SELPH equipment are no longer being accepted. However, individual items can be requested using the Line Item lists for each module; not all items are available, but we will fulfill requests as supplies last.

A number of pieces of student science equipment were designed for use in the SAVI/SELPH program but are excellent tools for all students. Some of these pieces are used in the FOSS program. These include the FOSS balance and tactile syringe which were originally developed for use by students with visual impairments.

Other specialized equipment allow students with disabilities full access to science investigations outside of SAVI/SELPH. These include the Braille and large-print thermometer, meter tape, and graduated cylinder.

To view a list of the SAVI/SELPH Modules, click here.

For a look at selected SAVI/SELPH tools and equipment, click here.

To download the recent SAVI/SELPH order form as a pdf, click here.

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