Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Adapting Images for Early Learners

Tree with leaves

As TVIs we frequently adapt tests for our students. I was recently given a first grade end of year test to adapt.   I reviewed each image, as part of this process. The page discussed in this post is about a tree.  The question asks: "Which of the following pictures shows what a tree looks like in the spring time?"   This student isn't fluent with tactile images yet. Therefore, I decided to make concept cards for each of the seasons of the tree (fall, winter, summer). The printed picture shows rain and snow, which I decided to omit from the concept card as the weather would be too much for the student to have to decipher. Each of the cards was presented to him and he was able to successfully identify the different images.



Test item of the tree

Bare treeTree with leaves


Tree with leaves falling on ground

When adapting materials, you have to know your student. Know their strengths as well as their weaknesses. You have to adapt to those strengths, while keeping in mind their weaknesses. Working on their strengths aids the student in comprehending the material and gives them confidence in themselves.   This enables the student to become more independent, which is a goal we all strive for. 


Editor's Note:  There are many resources available to learn more about creating tactile graphics.  See Tactile Graphics on this site and on Perkins Scout.  A decision flowchart may also be helpful when deciding whether or not to create a tactile graphic.


Pinterest collage for adapting images



Posted by Lynne Bacon-App...

Carousel of Textures

Posted by Lynne Bacon-App...

Purchasing Carousel of Textures

Posted by Charlotte Cushman

Start with real objects

Posted by Charlotte Cushman

Tactile books

Posted by Lina Graham

Posted on June 8, 2016
Updated on: February 7, 2018

Previous comments for Adapting Images for Early Learners

Lina Graham commented on June 15, 2016

Mike Mclinden has written a v readable book on tactile skills- it's worth a read. 

In the UK we have our amazing Clearvision Library. It has lending section of tactile books. As QTVI 's we can borrow these well made safe tactile story books. They are handmade and each one is like a piece of artwork! They even have tactile story books for VI children with PMLD. There is a section on their website which tells you how to make these books safely. A perfect introduction to the tactile world of books. 





Lynne Bacon-App... commented on June 12, 2016

Yes. Thank you! Can I purchase these publications myself directly from Perkins? 

Charlotte Cushman commented on June 12, 2016


I would want to be sure that the child understands what the real object is and is able to identify it before moving to any level of abstraction.  The strategy on this page is for learners who can recognize real objects, but who are not yet able to interpret tactile graphics which use only raised lines.

Liz Eagan commented on June 11, 2016

I need a few more details. I'm guessing from the information you wrote, that textures will be vital to him. APH has a product called "Carousel of Texturesimages" this is available through APH Quota Funds. Your TVI can get this for you. This contains textured paper that can be used to adapt images for your son. I tend to do images from worksheets like the pictures posted in this post before moving towards line drawings. I want to ensure the students I am working with comprehend the information that is depicted in the picture images. For my students requiring more sensory information, I will supplement the lined drawings with the textured paper. Does this help a bit?

Lynne Bacon-App... commented on June 11, 2016

Anything helpful for a brain injured 7 yo who has progressed to Phase II & beginning Phase III since his injury at age 16 mo.
He is non-verbal, SENSORY SEEKING & understands language at a 2-3 yr old level.