Did you know that there are simple tools, educational resources and materials that will assist your blind student in developing great classroom organizational and blindness skills! Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about materials and accommodations that will work for your blind student. These are some of my favorites…
Braille Classroom Calendars: The classroom calendar kit through American Printing House is a wonderful twin vision (Braille/Print) calendar that is easily integrated into teacher instructed morning circle activities. This calendar teaches a variety of concepts such as recording of weather, ordering of numbers, year, months and days of week in large print and Braille format.
Braille Desk Calendars: These calendars are great desk-top student resources for school assignments and home use. Braille calendar use develops tactile tracking skills and understanding of days of the week, months and year. Include calendar use at home by marking birthdays, family vacations, holidays, school trips and upcoming fun events! This is a great resource for developing tactile skills. You can use tactile markers or adhesive bump dots for calendar marking!
Braille Pocket Folders: These resources can be used to store student classroom assignments, homework assignments, “materials to be transcribed”, “transcribed materials” and miscellaneous Braille materials. Pocket folders hold 11″X11 ??” Braille paper and come in a variety of colors. This item can be color coded for each subject area. Braille pocket folders will offer an opportunity to develop student organizational skills.
Embossables are plastic sheets with adhesive backing that can be embossed with Braille using a Perkin’s Braille writer. Embossables are great for quick classroom labels, labeling of folders and quick labeling of elementary education materials.
Braille Labeling is an opportunity to foster early literacy skills in the early education pre-school setting. Embossables or Braille labels can be used for tactile identification of important items in the classroom setting such as the blind student’s classroom cubby, chair, individualized bins or containers, Braille folders, crayon colors, art bins or any educational item that requires additional information for identification by the blind child.
Storage Containers are great resources to store miscellaneous Braille materials. Store Literary materials such as Braille labeled crayons, Perkin’s Braille eraser, tactile markers and adhesive bump dots in one container. Store Nemeth (math) materials such as a Children’s Abacus and Braille rulers in a second container. Storage containers will assist in keeping your student’s desk neat and organized. Simple storage containers keep items from rolling off the desk and contained in a defined area for easy access.
Seat Sacks: Provide additional student storage with an original “Seat Sack” or individually made student chair sack. They make terrific student storage and organization of Literary and Nemeth (math) worksheets, Braille folders or a Braille work book. They are commercially available in different sizes or can be homemade.
Storage Crates: Store classroom Braille books in sturdy crates in a consistent area near the Braille student. Use individual crates to organize Literary Braille books, Nemeth (Math) books, workbooks and chapter books. Teach your student how to independently order volumes numerically and to locate his/her books in each crate.
Dycem is a non-slip material. This item is particularly useful under a Perkin’s Braille writer or other materials to keep them from sliding on the table. Dycem is available in many school supply catalogues.
Wikki Stix is a hands-on tactile teaching item that can be used as an instructional tool to create tactile materials. Use Wikki Stix to create and teach raised line shapes, numbers and pictures and to demonstrate the formation of musical notes and time signatures. Your student can use Wikki Stix on multiple choice worksheets to indicate his/her choice or use them as temporary tactile orientation cues on technology resources. Wikki Stix can be used for tactile demonstration of Braille code formations during Braille lessons.
Adhesive Tactile Marking: Bump Dots or tactile self-adhesive dots, marks or slashes are great for marking telephones, keyboards, calculators, technology resources such as start/stop switches. Tactile dots should be used on a limited basis on select buttons for identification and orientation to devices.
Feel and Peel Stickers: These Braille and print stickers are available as tactile smile/frown faces, alphabet, numbers, reward statements and point symbols. Use them as rewards for a job well done, as tactile resources on simple bar graphs and charts or incorporated into math lessons along with additional educational usages.
Interlined Nemeth (math) workbooks are great resources for the typical class setting that may not have the support of a fulltime Teacher of the Blind. Most Braille textbooks and Braille workbooks are offered only in Braille format. Consider offering interlined Nemeth (math) workbooks so that the non-Braille reading staff can actively assist the Braille student during classroom math instruction. There are Braille Transcription Services that offer interlining services at reasonable prices. This can be one of best resources you can offer to maximize math instructional time for your student.
Tactile Treasures: Promotes the development of Math and Language Concepts for Children with Visual Impairments. It bridges the transition from concrete items to raised line tactile representations.
Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter Recognition: This program assists the new Braille reader in developing their tactile tracking skills, proper hand position, Braille letter code recognition and rapid tactile identification/reading. It has a teacher manual along with a variety of activities, worksheets, games and tests. The time you take with your student to complete this program is well worth the tactile tracking you will reinforce by the end of the program. The worksheets make great tactile tracking homework practice assignments.
Building on Patterns Braille Literacy Program: This Braille literacy program fosters the development of Braille spelling, reading and writing skills. Building on Patterns is offered for a variety of grades and units from ages 4 and up and addresses vocabulary, comprehension, fluency and phonics along with skill areas such as language, development of tactual discrimination and sound and letter associations. It includes a teacher instructional manual, supplemental lesson activities and consumables.
On The Way to Literacy: These twin vision (print/Braille) books come in book sets for ages 2.5 to 5 years of age. These books provide cute story lines with raised-line drawings. Develop early literacy skills, organized tactile tracking and the fun of reading. Include this resource into Braille lessons, library story time, teacher directed reading activities and parent/child story time. Use these books for school library story time and as a student lending resource. Quick Pick Materials: Quick Pick Braille Contractions are presented in flash card format and are very useful practice tools for the home and school setting. They are great self-guided resources and are available as both literary and math operations (Nemeth) format.
Braille Bug: The Braille Bug is a terrific resource that includes an activity book, slate and stylus, alphabet card and secret messages in Braille. It is a perfect resource for teachers and parents and is a super activity for classroom Show & Tell for student/teacher presentation during Helen Keller recognition week at school.
Weekly Readers: Weekly readers in Braille format are one of the best and most cost-effective inclusion educational resources for early education. Contact American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. and consider placing orders well in advance of the school year.
Braille and Tactile Storybooks: These Braille raised line/tactile coloring/story books are available through Maxi Aides. They are perfect resources to use in Early Education Braille lessons and as supplemental resources in the home setting. These tactile/Braille books are offered in Braille format, Braille and print along with tactile graphics. Books cover a wide range of topics including: Calendar book, vegetables book, alphabet book, shape book and a counting book. Develop organized tactile tracking skills, pre-Braille skills, beginning identification of tactile images among a variety of other skills. This item is a great resource for both school and home.
Word Playhouse: This kit provides print/Braille Velcro tiles that adhere to a felt work board. Fosters beginning letter recognition, Braille code recognition, spelling, decoding, phonics, vocabulary and reading skills.
Math Windows: Comes in basic math, algebra and geometry format. This product offers print and Braille in the form of Nemeth (math) tiles. Math Window tiles are used on a magnetic board to demonstrate math operations in Braille format. Math Window is a perfect tool for the educational and home setting.
MAPS: There are a variety of well made tactile maps available through the Princeton Braillist and the American Printing House, Inc. High quality maps are essential in the education of the blind student. Organized tactile map reading should be initiated in Braille lessons and reinforced in the classroom setting. There are tactile maps currently being offered for very reasonable prices.
Primary Phonics by Barbara W. Makar is a twin vision (print/Braille) book collection. Set 1 and set 2 both include 10 story books presented in large print, Grade 1 (un-contracted) and Grade 2 (contracted) Braille. These books make great supplemental reading. This is a great item for the educational and home setting.