Skip to content
Graduate student project

Adapting “Are You My Mother?” for Children with Multiple Disabilities

Ideas to adapt "Are You My Mother?" picture book to make it accessible to children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities

As part of the graduate coursework for Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities in the Teacher Preparation Program in Visual Impairments at the University of Kentucky, students were asked to complete four projects: Story Box, Picture Communication Symbols for Story Box, Tactile Communication Symbols, and Talking Book Project.
We are sharing them on Paths to Literacy and hope that others will use them!  Please add your comments at the bottom of the page.

This project makes “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman accessible to students with visual impairments and additional disabilities using a story box, picture symbols. tactile symbols, and a talking book.

Story Box

Tactile Story Box Explanation:

  1. Mother Bird- I chose the mother bird because she is the main character. She has a red hat on just like the book. I wanted to put the hat on her so that there would be a difference in the baby bird and the mother bird.
  2. Baby Bird- The baby bird is just a little smaller than mother bird. I liked the feel of these birds because they had the feel of real feathers.
  3. Nest- I chose this because this is where the mother bird and baby bird lived.
  4. Egg- The egg is not a real egg but Styrofoam. I wanted the student to get the feel of the oval shape of the egg without the worries of making a mess with the egg. Plus the audience age range for this book is Pre-K to about 1st grade. This egg gives the student a little more freedom to manipulate the egg.
  5. Tree- The tree is just a piece of tree from my yard but it gives the student an idea of what a tree limb feels like and leaves.
  6. Hen- The hen has fake feathers to make it feel more realistic.
  7. Cow (figurine)- I chose the figurine instead of a stuffed animal because I wanted the student to be able to feel the utters and horns on the cow and their location on the cow.
  8. Kitten- I chose this kitten because of its whiskers.
  9. Dog- It was the same color as the dog in the book and it has beans which can be soothing due to its added weight.
  10. Excavator (Snort)- This was the most difficult item to find. I chose this specific one because the student could feel the scoop and the long arm that is attached to it and imagine how this type of truck could easily put the bird back in the tree.

Background knowledge:

The student will need to know that birds live in trees in nests. They will also need to know that birds are hatched in eggs and eat worms. Also birds cannot fly when they are born, which is why baby bird could not fly and instead fell to the ground.

Ideas for Implementation:

Science Lesson
  • Discuss the life cycle of a bird (start in an egg, hatched then mother takes care of bird until they fly)
  • Teach about the habitat of birds then they could create their own bird habitat
  • Discuss the different types of food birds eat

Language Arts

  • Lesson on what happened 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th
Social Lesson
  • Discuss different types of emotions that the baby bird might have experienced in the process, such as when he hatched and there was no one there, then when he met the kitten, hen, cow, dog, and Snort!, well as when the Snort! picked him up, and when mother bird came home.

Picture Communication Symbols for Story Box

Questions for Are you My Mother? Communication CardsBoardmaker pictures for

  1. What made the mother bird leave the nest?
  2. When the baby bird fell out of the nest which animal did he come to first?
  3. When the baby bird fell out of the nest which animal did he come to second?
  4. When the baby bird fell out of the nest which animal did he come to third?
  5. When the baby bird fell out of the nest which animal did he come to fourth?
  6. What finally put him back in the nest?
  7. When the mother bird came home what did she bring the baby bird?
  8. How do you think the baby bird felt when the Snort picked him up?
  9. How do you think the baby bird felt when his mother bird came home?
  10. Where was the nest located?
  11. What are birds hatched from?

Explanation of why I used each card:

  • I wanted to use a bird’s nest because this is where the mother bird and baby bird lived as well as the tree. This is also where the Snort, put the baby bird back.
  • The egg is where the baby bird hatched and what started shaking, which is why the mother bird flew away.
  • I used a bird because the main characters where birds.
  • I used kitten, hen, dog, and cow because they are each characters in the book.
  • The Snort is the character in the book that saves the day and places the baby bird back in the tree, in the nest. I used a picture of a worm because that was the reason why the baby bird flew away. Plus it teaches the student what birds eat.
  • Lastly, I used the picture of a person happy and scared because I wanted the student to get a sense of the emotion the baby bird might have felt when the mother bird returned and when the Snort picked him up.

Tactile Communication Symbols

Tactile symbols for

Talking Book Project

Some students may prefer to use a talking PowerPoint book to read along with the book, while listening to the audio version.
This talking book is based on Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman.
Talking book of
United State flag

United States Flag Braille Art Design

Colored illustration of animals with alphabet letters A, B, C, D
Activity and strategy

Alphabet Objects


Ideas for Teaching Tracking and other Tactile Skills