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Activity and strategy

Creating a Braille-Rich Environment at Home

Tips on creating a braille-rich environment in the home for children who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind

It is important to me that my 5-year-old son Liam, who is deafblind, have access to braille. Functionally labeling our home in braille is one way I accomplish this. Labeling your home with braille is important for many reasons:  

  • Shows that braille has meaning and is important
  • Includes your son/daughter (makes your home accessible)
  • Familiarity with braille in the environment is an important pre-braille experience

See also:  Pre-Braille Experiences for Infants and Toddlers

toaster with braille labels
Braille labels on toaster

I chose to label our home functionally.  I labeled things that “do something”, for example, microwave buttons and the toaster.  I also labeled anything in the house that was labeled in print, for example the refrigerator, toys, and our coat hooks.  In addition, I make sure to have braille “browsing books” available throughout the house for my son.  They always stay in the same spot so that he knows where to find them.  I try to have all books in our home, that are in Liam’s reach, to have braille on them or something tactile for him to feel.  Liam enjoys pointing out the braille around the house.  He has recently started helping me make dinner and we get to put those labels on the microwave to use!  

coat hangers with braille labels for names
Coat hooks with names labeled in print and braille

Note: Another approach is to label EVERYTHING in the home: table, TV, chairs, toys, window, door etc.  It just depends on what your purpose and goal is.  This is a common practice in elementary school classrooms, where there are often print labels saying “wall”, “desk”, “blackboard”, “chair”, etc.

light switch with braille labels for on and off
Light switch with braille labels “on” and “off”

Ideas of things to label:

  • Light switches: on, off
  • Water facets (if you can find a spot they will stay on!) hot, cold
  • Coat hooks
  • Shoe cubbies
  • TV Remotes
  • Microwave
  • Stove
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Toaster
  • Cell phones (we just labeled the back of ours not the screen)
  • Toys that have print on them
  • Vacuum
  • Washer and dryer
Brailled numbers on microwave
Brailled numbers on microwave
on off switch on dishwasher with braille labels
“On” and “Off” braille labels on dishwasher

Future goals:

Ideally, I would LOVE it if all of our food from the grocery store came labeled in braille. I am working on creating a system at home to have simple braille labels “pre-made” so every time I go grocery shopping, Liam can help me label our purchases (stuff he cares about anyway☺). For example: his cereal boxes, snack bags, milk carton, etc.

braille-rich collage
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Liam using the low tech restaurant book
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