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Activity and strategy

Adapting the Hungry Caterpillar for Children Who Are Blind

Tips to adapt books for children who are deafblind, blind, or visually impaired

My 6-year-old son Liam, who is deafblind, brought this little reader home in his backpack from school.  It is a simplified version of the “Hungry Caterpillar” story that is written by Eric Carle.  I thought this story would be a perfect story to adapt for Liam.  I loved that the story included days of the week and counting; all things that Liam is working on in school.  I also love the fact that it includes a cute caterpillar eating different foods because I knew my son would enjoy that.smiley

paper caterpillar
The hungry caterpillar with tactile features

Here are a few things I did to modify and adapt this story into something that is accessible and enjoyable for my son:

  • Changed the foods to foods that I could easily find at home to glue on the pages, I chose foods that he would already know and that had a ‘fun tactile feel’  to it  (I did make a trip to the ‘Dollar Store’ to get a few fun pieces like the ‘big apple’ and the ‘squishy grapes’.
  • I added braille. 
  • I created a tactile ‘picture’ of the Hungry Caterpillar that can be used to act out the caterpillar eating the food on each page.
  • I created the story on sturdy chipboard pages.  
liam in green shirt using his adapted caterpillar book
Liam examines the tactile illustrations in the book.
liam in green short using caterpillar adapted book
Liam touches the tactile illustrations in the book.
liam in green shirt with hungry caterpillar adapted book
Liam smiles as he feels the tactile caterpillar on the cover of the book.
sample page of hungry caterpillar adaptation with red apple
“On Monday he ate through 1 apple but he was still hungry” (with plastic apple attached to the page)
example page of caterpillar page with crackers glued on
“On Thursday he ate through 4 crackers but he was still hungry!” with 4 crackers glued to the page
sample page of hungry caterpillar book with butterflies
On Sunday (tactile butterfly)
Adapting Hungry Catepillar collage
hungry caterpillar collage

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

Alphabet Objects


Ideas for Teaching Tracking and other Tactile Skills

Alphabox showing an apple in the position of dot 1 in a braille cell
Activity and strategy