Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

12 More Ideas for Teaching Braille to Students with Decreased Tactile Sensitivity

I am currently working with a child who has decreased sensitivity. Below are a few suggestions. I try to keep each activity to five minutes or less and provide lots of praise.


  1. 2-point discrimination testFirst I had the OT do a sensitivity test and she was able to determine which finger/fingers was more sensitive to the dots.  She used two tests:  a two-point discrimination test (there are several, and this is just an example) and the Semmes Weinstein Filament Test.



APH Work-Play Tray

  1. I used an APH Work-Play tray to help him understand left/right/top/bottom/sides and corners. He could use these terms in mobility, but did not generalize to the desk top. 





  1. TheraputtyI used Theraplast Putty and had him poke and name his fingers (joint compression). The labels I gave were: Thumb, pointer, tall man, ring finger and pinky. Once he could do this in sequence, then I began to ask him to poke fingers in random order. For example: poke your pointer, poke your ring finger, etc.



  1. APH Swing CellI used a small swing cell (APH) and first had him put in the pegs identifying the numbers in sequence. I was labelling while he worked, Dot 1 is at the top left, etc.
    • Next on the swing cell I would place the pegs in it to create a letter. For example; I would put in pegs dot 1 and 4. He needed to identify the dots, and then tell me the letter it formed.
    • Finally I would give him the pegs and ask him to make a specific letter.


  1. I then moved to a note-taker with refreshable braille. The plastic dots are clearer (sharper) to the touch. Once he learned to line up his fingers I had him begin to braille the easier letters in the braille alphabet (my choice for beginning letters: a, b, c, g, k, l, m, p, v, x). Once he completed brailling a line he would then read the letters he wrote. I also put the voice on so he could hear it read. He thought that was funny. 


  1. Magnetic letters from APHI use the magnetic letters that APH produced for the Wilson Reading Program (again I think they are clearer or sharper to the touch then braille on paper). I place the letters on the left side of a cookie sheet and as the student identifies the letter, he moves it to the right side.  

Read more about the Wilson Reading Program for Braille Students.


  1. I also like using the braille letters from the Word PlayHouse Kit from APH. These are letters with Velcro on the back and I have him match them to the objects.  I use Wilson Keywords, (a/apple, b/bat, c/cat). If there is a memory issue then using an object can be helpful and motivating. 

See also Using Real Objects to Reinforce Consonant Sounds.


  1. Tack-TilesI have also used the braille letters called TACK-TILES® (they look like Legos, but have large braille dots on them to form braille letters). They are helpful teaching the dot names and location. This should not be used as the primary way to teach braille, as the dots are too large to equate with braille dots. One way that I use them is to line up two different letters we are working on on the left side of the Lego base board and give the child a box with three or four duplicates of the same letters. The student then matches and attaches the letters to the board. 

Learn more about using TACK-TILES® to build braille literacy skills.


  1. Braille CaravanRecently I started to use CAL-tac Braille Caravan. They are small rectangles with six dots that can be pushed up and down. I laminate index cards and place a braille letter on the card. Next to the letter I put a Velcro dot. The child reads the braille letter and pushes up on the "Cal-tac" to form the same letter and places it next to the braille letter. 


  1. Braille tracking sheet with the letters a and l.The student I am working with is beginning to track a row of the braille letter "a" and locate the one letter that is different (usually the letter "l"). A braille sheet can usually hold eight rows with the different letter located in different places along the line. This is great for tracking and locating the next line of braille. He can use a sticker to mark the letter that is different. (Found at CVS or other drug stores, these are commonly used for yard sales. They are a good size and can lift off easily to check work.) Lining up stickers on the edge of the braillewriter or box makes it easier for the child to pinch them and place them on the letter that is different.  I am also having him mark a braille letter worksheet. He is to locate and mark a specific letter throughout the sheet. For example, locate and mark all the "g" that are placed randomly throughout the page. 


  1. Talking Tactile TabletI also like the Talking Tactile Tablet (TTT), which is available through Exceptional Teaching. We use the Mangold Braille Reading Programs for Young Readers (ages 5-12) with the TTT. Book 1 focuses on readiness and learning braille letters.


  1. I still like the Feely Meely Braille Matching Game, but in the beginning I would be very selective and choose only three letter words that do not have contractions, like: cat, hat, top, box, rat, pig, dog, etc. The child identifies letters, reads word and finds matching object in the box.

Feely Meely game

Collage of 12 more ideas for teaching braille



Device for Students With Visual Impairments

Posted by Gary

Very Helpful!

Posted by Oly


Posted by Charlotte Cushman

12 more ideas...

Posted by Anna C. Gayle

Posted on May 28, 2017
Updated on: February 3, 2022

Previous comments for 12 More Ideas for Teaching Braille to Students with Decreased Tactile Sensitivity

Anna C. Gayle commented on May 18, 2018

Thanks for this article! I was scrolling through PTL looking for helps for an Alt Track teacher at our school who has a student with tactile sensory loss. This article will be most helpful to her and also generate alternatives for her to use.


Charlotte Cushman commented on September 13, 2017

Welcome, Oly!  We're so glad that you found us and we hope that the site will be helpful.  You can follow us on social media as well.

Let us know if you have any ideas you'd like to share!

Oly commented on September 12, 2017

Hiii! I just registered to this website and Im already filled with excitement. Thank you so much. This has been really helpful and will give me great insights to how to help my student learn braille and so many other things. I loooove it! I am looking forward to reading more on your work and please continue to inspire many others like me. 

Gary commented on June 7, 2017

Hey there--this is amazing! It's so great to see so many fantastic educators out there who have the patience, character, and compassion to make the amazing changes in children's lives as your organization. Thank you wholeheartedly for what you do. I wanted to mention something that's been vital for my son, who struggles with severe vision impairment. There's a product called OrCam that has helped him with reading and facial recognition, through a tiny camera that attaches to glasses. It's been huge for him, and I know it would be great for other students with visual impairments. Just wanted to share, maybe it's something you'd want to look into. Thank you again for everything that you do, and I look forward to reading more of your content and seeing your impact.