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
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. Student materials were packaged
in equipment kits. One equipment kit was sufficient for four
students with disabilities or four integrated teams of students
(2-4 students per team) if sharing is appropriate. SAVI/SELPH
had nine equipment kits, one for each module.
SAVI/SELPH equipment is now offered for purchase as individual line items.These individual
items can be ordered from the Line Item lists for
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
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
To download the recent SAVI/SELPH order form as a pdf, click