Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Teaching Finger Isolation to Braille Students with Additional Disabilities

Pipe cleaner wrapped around finger
I am working with a third grade student who is just learning braille and she is having difficulty with finger isolation.  She has been in a life skills setting and I'm trying to "undo" some of her learned behaviors. For example, her left hand typically holds the paper while she reads with her right hand. Trying to get both hands to work together has been a challenge, but she is making progress.
She has been using a brailler and trying to move past scribbling to brailling actual letters. This has been difficult for her, however, and her "k" is always an "l". I asked the OT (Occupational Therapist) for help and she has been amazingly helpful! She and her assistant have been doing finger strengthening activities with the student using theraputty and working with finger puppets. My student is not a fan of the finger puppets, so the COTA created a pipe cleaner "puppet" which she will tolerate.
We are also doing the movements for "Where is Thumbkin". Our COTA found a YouTube video that we've been using to guide us with our finger play before we start brailling. It includes 3 short songs and my student loves it. 
It's still too early to know if this will work or not, but I've got high hopes!

Finger isolation collage



Posted by jesmcdowellTVIOandM

Posted on April 21, 2016
Updated on: February 7, 2018

Previous comments for Teaching Finger Isolation to Braille Students with Additional Disabilities

jesmcdowellTVIOandM commented on May 24, 2016

Excellent! I will be incorporating these ideas into lessons. I like the finger play warm up. I've seen lack of muscle tone and propriocetion affect student as they tried to do early math on fingers in class.