University of Edinburgh
 

Pre-Braille skills - practical guidelines

Developing Hands - muscle tone and finger dexterity

Activities

Wrist flexibility/finger dexterity

  1. Recognition of 3d objects. Encourage the child to handle and explore the object using both hands
  2. Matching of objects. Everyday objects are better than models. This activity can be used to develop an understanding of the words ‘same, different, large, small’ etc.
  3. Sorting activities. Begin with large, familiar objects and gradually introduce smaller objects. Sort into groups of size, shape, position and relationship.
  4. Stacking activities. Again start with large objects such as boxes and then to stacking blocks, beakers, etc. Important to use these exercises to develop an understanding of language, eg; bottom, larger, smaller, first, second, last.
  5. Bead stringing. Prior to using beads with thread practise putting beads onto something rigid such as a length of dowelling. Start with large beads and use thick threading like washing line. The bead and thread size can be reduced as the child becomes more proficient.
  6. Sorting. Collect various jars with screw lids. Let the child gather small objects and put them in the jars.
  7. Give the child thin card to punch and then trace the holds.
  8. Pinching clothes pegs to the side of a tin. Encourage the use of both hands to locate the side of the tin and to place the peg.
  9. Show child how to operate a DVD player and radio.
  10. Play with plasticine pastry to help straighten hands. To help manipulation in children with stiff fingers, let them use keyboard instruments.

Two-handed coordination

The child should always be encouraged to use both hands for the above activities.

Light finger touch

  1. Show the child how to move counters on a surface when only touching them lightly.
  2. Place counters on braille graph paper and make a game to see how many counters the child anc find without moving them out of the square.
  3. Show the child how lightly brailled can be touched.

Tactile perception

The child needs to develop the skill to recognise and discriminate etween shapes using the pads of his/her fingertips. This is a different skill and needs preparation.

Sorting of textures. This activity involves the use of the fingertips and the first textures used should be markedly different, eg; fur and plastic. Beforehand draw the child’s attention to objects made of different materials in everyday activities.

Make cards made of different materials, eg; sandpaper, linen and leatherette. Make 4 of each and then the child can sort these into groups and can play snap with them. Later on cards of different shapes can be introduced.

Cylinders covered with material at each end, eg; velvet on one end and tweed on the other. The game is for the child to place the cylinders on a board with the same material upwards.

Make caterpillar segments with two very different materials on each side. Sides made of the same material can be joined together with velcro strips. The same idea can be used for texture dominoes.

Make cotton reels with different materials covering them. When the child is able to thread they can do a variety of activities in the same way a sighted child follows a bead pattern.

Checklist Motor Development

 

Is able to:

Yes

Working towards

Comments

Date 1

Date 2

1

recognise everyday objects by touch

 

 

 

 

 

2

use both hands to explore object

 

 

 

 

 

3

match everyday objects

 

 

 

 

 

4

sort familiar objects (cups and plates)

 

 

 

 

 

5

thread large beads/shapes onto
dowel
string

 

 

 

 

 

6

screw/unsecrew lids

 

 

 

 

 

7

coordinate both hands

 

 

 

 

 

8

use light finger touch

 

 

 

 

 

9

track along a raised line (string or rope)

 

 

 

 

 

10

track along a raised line (tracking sheet)

 

 

 

 

 

Concept development

 

Shows understanding of

Yes

Working towards

Comments

Date 1

Date 2

1

top and bottom

 

 

 

 

 

2

up and down

 

 

 

 

 

3

on and off

 

 

 

 

 

4

on top and underneath

 

 

 

 

 

5

big and little

 

 

 

 

 

6

same and different

 

 

 

 

 

7

left and right

 

 

 

 

 

8

open and close

 

 

 

 

 

Tactual development

 

Is able to:

Yes

Working towards

Comments

Date 1

Date 2

1

identify round edges on familiar objects (cup)

 

 

 

 

 

2

recognise 3-d shapes
square (cube)
circle (sphere)
triangle (pyramid)

 

 

 

 

 

3

recognise two textures as same (match)

 

 

 

 

 

4

recognise two textures as different (discriminate)

 

 

 

 

 

Auditory awareness

 

Is able to

Yes

Working towards

Comments

Date 1

Date 2

1

recognise everyday sounds

 

 

 

 

 

2

show awareness of source of a sound

 

 

 

 

 

3

find  hidden sound source (musical box)

 

 

 

 

 

4

differentiate between quality of sounds (fast, slow)

 

 

 

 

 

5

recognise simple rhymes

 

 

 

 

 

Reading awareness           

 

Is able to

Yes

Working towards

Comments

Date 1

Date 2

1

enjoy handling and playing with books

 

 

 

 

 

2

take care of books

 

 

 

 

 

3

locate top and bottom of a book

 

 

 

 

 

4

locate front and back of a book

 

 

 

 

 

5

turn the pages of a book

 

 

 

 

 

6

feel raised words in braille/moon pages

 

 

 

 

 

7

feel labels in braille/moon familiar objects