Tell me about blindness, No, tell me about seeing with fingers..

This started because of my son – Ishaan. He does know about Braille of course, but i was thinking of a way to introduce him to the concept of blindness  – some way that works for a 2 year old.

And then it struck: The thing that he should know about, is the discovery of the skill to read with fingers. NOT the absence of a sense, but the discovery of a lesser known skill.

Sooo, a tactile book was made for him. There is no braille in this tactile book, but there will be in the second book. There arent any pictures, unfortunately, but lets talk about the applications of such a book and how to make it.


I can think of just 2 applications –

1. For sighted children – to sensitise them to differently abled children, and of course, to introduce them to a hitherto unknown skill.

2. For blind children – Tactile books will be absolutely fantastic for late blind children who do not know Braille. This can be used to learn Braille.

How we made the tactile book:

Some simple, around the house things that can be used for tactile books are:

1. Glue

2. Acrylic Paint

3. Normal drawing book with thick drawing sheets.

4. Raised Relief Stickers

5. Match sticks.

6. velvet paper

7. Sundry ribbons , buttons etc around the house.

Tactile books that can be made:

For Ishaan, i made a book about time. Using the metaphor of a matchbox, i explained how 60 seconds make a minute, 60 minutes make an hour et al.

To make it tactile, its just imp that there should be lots of stuff that can be FELT. For a sighted child, it doesnt matter WHAT. He just needs to be able to close his eyes and feel on every page.

Some other themes that may be used for tactile books are:

1. Shapes – using matchsticks, ribbons, buttons etc. Use velvet paper for fillers.

2. Big and Small – Using Twine, buttons, Lace, Ribbons, straws etc.

3. Simple story – for sighted children, we can use raised relief stickers, then use a combination of seeing and feeling when telling the story.

4. Numbers.

5. Reading a map – Make tactile maps on every page. To make it more intersting, use tactile maps of different scales – e.g., room, India Physical map, corridor, Mall,et al. This will give the child a perspective about maps, and also help them read and understand maps in general.

Will add pics to the post when feasible, but i didnt want to hold the post for want of the pictures..

Should sighted children go through the experience of tactile books?

This entry was posted in Braille, General Stuff, Sensitising Children and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tell me about blindness, No, tell me about seeing with fingers..

  1. Ruchika says:

    Nidhi, am proud of this initiative you’ve taken. I, for one, had no idea what tactile books could be…but what a wonderful idea this has turned out to be.

  2. Shweta says:

    This is amazing ! you have so much of creative ideas ! proud of you my friend… keep doing the good work !

  3. san says:

    hey Nidhi, this is cool! i can only think of blindfolded catch-me-if-u-can game as the way sighted children learn about maneuvering in the dark.

    Do you ask Ishaan to keep his eyes closed while feeling the tactile book? At this age does he understand to comply?

    It is amazing how much we ignore the ‘non-visual’ observation skills of sound and touch!

    • Esha says:

      Hi San: Yes, i do tell Ishaan to close his eyes. Sometimes, i tell him to close his eyes and focus on all the sounds that he can hear. Sometimes, i make him close his eyes and “feel” a toy. He enjoys it. But basically, all this is part of his growing up itself. he even comes with me to the Blind school and sees how they manage to walk without bumping into anyone or feeling about all the time with their hands, bcs they use their ears so much better. But thats for him to observe and learn.. am glad u asked this question.. who knows who might be helped by this information some day 🙂 in a google search…

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