Webinar 2: Teaching Touch and Exploratory Skills to Prepare for Tactile Graphics Learning

You can use this thread for general discussion and to participate in the webinar discussion activity.

Activity Prompt: Think about one of your tactile learners, what new ideas do you have for evaluating and strategically teaching touch skills and exploration of tactile graphics?



To strategically teach tactile strategies, I would at first have my student complete various activities, where they would have to tactilely differentiate between various textures, shapes, and objects. Having them be able to differentiate between these things will prepare them for reading of Braille and tactile graphics.


Resources from Webinar 2: Teaching Touch and Exploratory Skills to Prepare for Tactile Graphics Learning

Early Tactile Learning Profile - This document should be used to help develop a “Tactile Profile” for students with visual impairments who:

  • are chronologically and/or developmentally functioning between the ages of birth to 5 years old; and/or
  • have struggled with the acquisition of tactile skills/have not made expected progress; and/or
  • may be considered “non-traditional tactile learners” or “non-readers”.

Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics, 2010, Print Edition - Provides transcribers, educators, and producers with information about best practices, current methods, and design principles for the production of readable tactile graphics. Please Note: BANA is currently developing a revision to this document.

Teaching Touch Kit - Teaching Touch helps parents or teachers encourage young children who are blind to become active explorers and readers of tactile graphics.

All-In-One Board - Use the All-In-One Board in combination with hook fastener accessories, dry erase markers, and magnetic pieces (pieces can be homemade, obtained from APH, or ordered commercially. The board can be positioned at many angles, from nearly flat to fully upright.

APH Tactile Graphics Kit - This kit is an extensive set of tools and materials that allows teachers, transcribers, and mobility instructors to create custom raised-line maps, graphs, diagrams, and charts.

Draftsman Tactile Drawing Board - Create instant, raised line drawings with the Draftsman Tactile Drawing Board.

Picture Maker Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit - Create maps, charts, shapes, and your own tactile masterpieces on the Picture Maker Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit.

Quick-Draw Paper - Quickly produce maps, make graphs, practice your handwriting, or simply draw your favorite masterpiece by drawing on this 8 x 10.5-inch paper with a water-based marker.

Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding Kit: Making Tactile Pictures Make Sense - This set of materials serves as a tool for encouraging and informally assessing the development of early tactile literacy in young children.

Tactile Book Builder: Guide to Designing Tactile Books - Teachers and caregivers can use this 120-page illustrated handbook when creating books and tactile illustrations.

Tactile Book Builder Kit - “Build” a book and create a child’s connection to literacy!

Tactile Graphic Line Slate - This one-of-a-kind slate helps you create raised lines for tactile graphics onto various media (braille paper, vinyl, foil, and drawing film).

Tactile Town: 3-D O&M Kit - An interactive, 3-D model that teaches spatial concepts and cognitive mapping skills.

Tactile Treasures Kit, Tactile-Color Edition - Use the Tactile Treasures Kit to teach basic math and language concepts by feeling pictures of real objects on thermoform paper.

TactileDoodle - Use TactileDoodle and quickly generate tactile, raised-line graphics to convey a variety of concepts or art within the classroom or at home.

Tactile Tangrams Kit - Timeless and popular puzzle is now accessible to students and adults with visual impairment and blindness.


Presenting a tactle graphic with no instruction in order to gain base line data. Then provide tactile graphics with fun images for students where they have to find certain items on the graphic in order to get to a prize (assessment).


Using some form of active learning!


Offering different textures through books, Active Learning Walls etc. So that they get as much exposure throughout the day.


I do not have a formal evaluation for tactile skills but I like to gather a variety of objects that I place on a table, inside a box or bag, and just let my student explore and ask them to tell me what they find . From this exercise, I can see how my student approaches tactile exploration of a space, examination and manipulation of objects, vocabulary they use to describe what they are doing and finding out about the objects. APH has several great products I have used including matching textures and Setting the Stage. Using a pegboard or the hundreds grid with velcro shapes and asking them to create or identify patterns they show me how they explore and learn using their hands and using their heads to problem-solve.


yes and let them get messy


I do not have a formal evaluation either. I have attempted many strategies to evaluate and teach touch skills and exploration of tactile graphics. I try to use a multi-sensory approach to encourage touch skills and exploration. I have worked with students who like coarse textures so I would place this texture on an item or task I wanted to introduce to a student. Also, I worked with a student who was motivated by smell therefore I would put her favorite smells on objects for exploration.


Jennifer mentioned multiple times that students need “substantial” time to learn how to interpret tactile graphics. How much is substantial?

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I think it will depend on the student. can the student represent their learning in other ways?

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I plan to have students draw shapes on a TactileDoodle. Trace around a cup, cheerio box, and lid of a bottle to see the shapes they make.

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My favorite idea that you shared was having the students to make their own graphics


The idea of focusing on salient features is really important. I didn’t realize how I took the visual details for granted and how difficult it can be for the student to integrate that tactile piece.


Is there an evaluation tool available of tactual skills / resource or checklist of progression of tactual skills for objects, tactile graphics?


I was wondering if anyone has some good activities for students with complex bodies who also have CVI? Thanks in advance!

Join us for webinar 3 and learn of a new tool that you can use!

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This is such a good question. “Substantial” means consistent and deliberate exposure over time, even throughout a student’s years in school - time dedicated for strategic skill development as well as to exploration and discussion in context. It should sometimes be a specific focus of instruction, and sometimes a supplement, but always a factor. As an example for a young learner, instead of simply passing over a tactile graphic in a book and moving on to the next page, spend a full lesson on each page in the book the first time that is read and let the student learn both experientially and through conversation what each texture, line, curve, and surface represents and how it relates to the text. Then, allow the learner to view the graphics again in re-readings of the book, learn and comment about new things each time, and relate what is being learned to graphics in other books and contexts. For a more advanced learner, rather than simply handing a tactile graphic for a math problem to a student to use to solve a problem, work with the student to talk through the parts of the graphic, interpret their meanings, put them together into a whole graphic, and examine the question that goes with it to identify how to use it efficiently and well. Additionally, practice with similar graphics so that a student can learn to generalize skills and use them more independently. “Substantial” means making tactile graphics learning an integral part of everything that students do as they move through their individualized educational programs.


Since one of my tactile learners loves books, I think I would provide him with the adaptation of the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear that I made. Then I would have him describe the different animals by the textures and the salient features I chose to represent. This would give me a general idea of where he is on both using exploratory skills and touch in order to prepare him for tactile graphics.

I might even branch out further by providing a box with pieces of textures or fabrics I used throughout the book to see if he could match them to the corresponding page in the book.