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Do You Use Tangible Symbols with a Student who has a Visual Impairment?

A study is being conducted to describe how students with visual impairment are using tactile tangible symbols systems, and needs your help!

What are tactile tangible symbol systems?

A set of whole or partial objects used to represent objects, people, places, actions, or ideas for expressive or receptive communication purposes.

Who can participate?

We are looking for school professionals who, during the school day, are responsible for the majority of communication interactions with at least one student with visual impairment, at any age or ability level, who has been successful with learning a tactile tangible symbol system. The research is a collaboration between University of Utah, Boston College, and San Diego State University.

We also want to involve a school professional who played a major role in the development of the tactile tangible symbol system.

What is involved?

  • An approximately 1-hour interview about the design, development, and implementation of tactile tangible symbol systems
  • A short survey on student characteristics
  • A day in which researchers observe interactions using tactile tangible symbol systems in the school
  • We will also ask for parent permission to observe their child and collect artifacts related to the tactile tangible symbol system

Recruitment will take place until fall 2023

Please contact Dr. Sarah Ivy at for more information or questions


Colby’s Growth to Language and Literacy: The Achievements of a Child who is Congenitally Deafblind


Alternative Tactile Communication Program


The Bridge School: Cortical Visual Impairment