Tactual Learner with Additional Impairments: Ideas for developing a student’s sense of touch and reducing tactile defensive behaviours

  • Ensure the activities are age-appropriate
  • Offer activities that involve the use of more than one sense – some students may require an auditory motivation to use their tactual sense
  • Ensure the activities are enjoyable and fun!!!!!

Junior-aged students

  • tactual mobile – ensure it is within student’s reach
  • tactual treasure box or treasure table – fill with items related to student’s educational program e.g. classroom theme items, favourite toys
  • tactual timetable – use object symbols where possible e.g. a pair of bathers to indicate swimming, a bunch of keys to indicate going on the bus, a spring to indicate the trampoline
  • develop tactual symbols for classroom activities e.g. different songs and whole class games
  • fill an old handbag with tactile objects e.g. lucky dip type activity – the handbag could be filled with lentils and an object the student has to find amongst the lentils
  • tactual necklace to be worn by student and/or class teacher/carer
  • textured snake – attach to a wall, keep in a corner. The snake could include a knitted/buttons/sheep skin/plastic/sand paper/scotch brite/herbs/perfumed tissue/crunchy paper sections. This idea could also be used to introduce and develop a student’s trailing skills (for orientation and mobility purposes).
  • textured curtains
  • games e.g. find a toy hidden amongst a tray or bag of scrabble pieces
  • find the object hidden in the sandpit
  • find the soap or toy in the basin full of water
  • construct a “feely” corner of the room
  • threading activities – include sorting, grading and matching of different textures e.g. buttons, pasta
  • “feely bags” – student can name the object in the bag, take it out and self-correct if necessary. Include items which are hot/cold, rough/smooth, heavy/light, soft/hard.
  • guess the hidden item in the sock
  • “feely” medals for students to wear
  • “feely bingo” games e.g. present student with a board of four different textures – the student is required to match textured cards to their boards
  • tactile dice – throw the dice and find the matching texture on a tray
  • “feely dominoes” e.g. different textures or a set including the finer discrimination of different sized and shaped buttons
  • cooking activities involving hand to mix e.g. kneading dough, mixing dry ingredients and rolling meatballs
  • art activity ideas – finger painting with shaving cream/warm finger paint, working with clay and play dough, making textured pictures/murals, working in the garden – planting “smelly” plants with various textures, make mud pies etc
  • tactual scanning activities e.g. a tactual version of “What is missing?&#148 (Kim’s game) – place items on a tray, in a box or use the old handbag again
  • simple jigsaw puzzles

Senior-aged students

NB: Some of the activities listed above can be adapted to suit older students.

  • daily living skills e.g. hanging up the washing, taking lids off jars, washing hands, playing with different types of balls and cooking activities
  • art activities – textured pictures could be made with items collected whilst on a nature walk
  • orientation and mobility activities e.g. take the student on a guided tour of the classroom each day – to increase familiarity and ensure student is aware of any changes to the classroom layout

Ideas for making the classroom tactual

  • use different floor surfaces to designate various sections of the classroom e.g. lino for the wet area, a plastic path leading from the classroom door to the student’s table
  • hang tactual mobiles, tactual wall hangings
  • provide the student with tactual clues e.g. to assist in locating the student’s chair, table, school bag and spot to sit on the floor for morning talk
  • change the tactile environment in the immediate environment e.g. carpet under the student’s table top
  • line the top of shelves/bench tops with tactual cues e.g. imitation grass, carpet, lino and/or tiles
  • use book shelves/cupboards as room divider

Return to the students with vision impairments and additional impairments page.