Adaptations for Learning to Use Touch Effectively
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LITERACY FOR CHILDREN
WHO ARE DEAF-BLIND
"Reading" and "creating" tactile representations
of real life experiences that are permanent for the child to access
provide literacy experiences for children who are deaf-blind and do
not have symbolic language skills to participate in literacy activities
childs trip to an amusement park is recreated tactilely using
items from the trip (e.g., part of the popcorn box, the wristband
to get him on rides, a straw for the drink that was purchased, a
small souvenir). The childs grandparent discusses the event
while encouraging the child to manipulate each object in the "story
or memory" box. Each item is labeled in braille and print.
students day is created tactilely in a book format. An item
or part of an item is attached to each page of the book with a phrase
or sentence written beneath the item (in both braille and print).
With his mother and sister, the child reads about his day by touching
each item and turning the page. His mother or sister read the phrase
as he touches the item.
child reads an APH book about pockets and what are in them by turning
each page of the book to feel the pocket and look inside each one.
The child also feels the braille words while a peer reads the print.
language-rich activities, materials, and environments to support a
childs experiences with literacy. These include playing together,
describing objects, discussing events, supporting the childs
access to language, conversations, stories, and books.
2. As appropriate, use varied intonation, gestures, signs, objects
and tactile items to engage the child in a conversation or story.
3. Build on real experiences that children enjoy as a beginning point
for literacy experiences by referring to tactile items associated
with these experiences. These tactile items should be organized in
a "story or memory" box or book so that the child can refer
to events and "reread" these stories.
4. Expose the child to braille in a similar manner that young sighted
children are exposed to print, e.g., on labels. The child should feel
the braille even though the child may not be able to read this abstract
symbol system. Through repeated and consistent exposures, the child
will assign meaning to the braille dots.
5. Read familiar, interesting, and relevant books repeatedly with
6. Ask the child to "read" a favorite book to you by touching
tactile items in sequence and using gestures or other means of communication.
7. Provide opportunities for interaction. Pause during the story and
wait for the child to feel tactile items, the braille, and to comment
or anticipate what happens next. Allow the child to hold the book,
turn the pages, and manipulate tactile features. If needed, add tabs
to the pages to make them easier for the child to turn.
8. Have the child participate in the development of tactile books
and displays using items that represent favorite activities or experiences.
9. Whenever possible, help the child make connections between these
experience stories and current or upcoming events.
10. Include individualized tactile books in a childs portfolio
that will follow the child from grade to grade.
11. As the child gains greater understanding of different literacy
experiences, more and more abstract methods of representation can
12. The use of jumbo braille cells for reading may be helpful for
13. Let children experiment and play with braillers as a form of written
- Adapted literacy
materials allow the child access to specific literacy skills.
- Shared literacy
experiences contribute to effective communication and support the
childs language development and social interaction.
- Children can
participate with sighted children during literacy activities.
- All materials
have to be adapted and individualized. This can be time consuming
- Finding appropriate
materials to develop tactile (non-braille) materials for literacy
may be challenging.
Skills represents a synthesis of information from Project SALUTEs
National Advisory Committee, staff activities, and a review of relevant
literature such as the following bibliography.
Family support of the emergent literacy of children with visual impairments.
Journal of Visual Impairments & Blindness, 90, 194-200.
D.K., & Tabors, P.O. (2001). Beginning literacy with language.
Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. www.brookespublishing.com
J. (1999). Developing compensatory skills. In K.E. Wolfe (Ed.). Skills
for success. A career education handbook for children and adolescents
with visual impairments (pp. 97-124). New York: AFB Press. www.afb.org
L.M., & Kaderavek, J. (2002). Using shared storybook reading to
promote emergent literacy. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(4),
C. (1994). Home literacy experiences of preschool children with single
and multiple disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education,
M. & McCall, S. (2002). Learning through touch: Supporting children
with visual impairment and additional difficulties. London, England:
David Fulton Publishers.
(2000). Literacy for persons who are deaf-blind. Retrieved August
1, 2002 from DBLINK Web site: http://www.tr.wou.edu/dblink/literacy2.htm
C., & King-DeBaun, P. (1997). Emergent literacy success: Merging
technology and whole language for students with disabilities. Park
City, UT: Creative Communicating. www.creative-comm.com
Overview of learning to read and write: Developmentally appropriate
practices for young children. A joint position of the International
Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of
Young Children. http://www.naeyc.org/resources/position_statements/psread0.htm
A., OConnor, R.E., & Vadasy, P.E. (1998). Ladders to literacy.
A preschool activity book. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. www.brookespublishing.com
S., & Barton, L.R. (2002). Bridges to literacy: Early routines that
promote later school success. Zero to Three, 22(4), 33-38.
L., Gaisson, J., & Couture, C. (1998). Emergent literacy and intellectual
disabilities. Journal of Early Intervention, 21, 267-281.
J.M., & Wright. S. (1991). On the way to literacy. Early experiences
for visually impaired children. Louisville, KY: American Printing
House for the Blind. www.aph.org
Beginning with Books Center for Early Literacy
Read to me
Reach out and read