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Supporting Friendships Through Creating Accessible Books

Ideas to support friendships between children who are blind or deafblind and typical peers through braille literacy experience creating accessible books

A girl uses a braillewriter

My son Liam has a good friend from school named Bella. They are in the same first grade class, where Liam is fully included. (Liam is deafblind and Bella has typical vision and hearing.)  We love it when she gets to come over to our house to play!  We always try to do a “craft” when she comes over.  This visit we decided to MAKE books.  

 

Goal:  

I wanted an activity that would be motivating.  Creating books is something that they could do and share together and would be accessible for both of them.  This is also a great way to encourage social interaction, in addition to braille and literacy skills!
 

Materials to prepare ahead of time:

  • Blank chipboard books (I found mine on Amazon.)
  • Small cardboard pieces with braille (AND with print) words placed on them. (I got this idea of the velcro squares from Liam’s TVI at school!) Carefully choose words that the kids will know and also that will be able to make a variety of sentences.
  • Place velcro pieces on the back of the word pieces.    
  • Place Velcro strip on the bottom of every page of the book
  • Large cardboard piece covered with velcro (to place word pieces on it and keep them in one place) 

Braille and print word cardsVelcro on back of word cards

 

Velcro dots on bottom of blank page

 

Procedure:  Here’s what we did!  

1.  Examine word cards.

​Liam and Bella explored all of the word options using the large cardboard piece.  

A boy examines braille word cardsReading braille word cards

 

2.  Make sentences with word cards.

They both came up with sentences using the words and placed them onto the pages of their books.  

Two children make braille sentencesPlacing words on the velcro strips

 

3.  Illustrate pages with tactile stickers.

Next, we had a variety of tactile stickers.  The kids used the stickers to “illustrate”  their books.

Two children illustrate pages with tactile stickersPrint and braille page with tactile stickers

 

4.  Add title to book.

They added a “TITLE” to their book by themselves!  (Of course, in print and braille!)  

Covers of friendship books: Liam is my friend book and Bella is my friend book

 

5.  Read book together!

Lastly, Liam got to read his book to Bella and Bella read her book to Liam! 

Two children read book togetherReading book together using tactile sign

Note on the pictures:  When it was Bella’s turn to read her book that she made to Liam, Liam would first read braille in her book and THEN Bella would read the sentence to him using “Tactile American Sign Language”.   Liam read his book to Bella using American Sign Language (ASL).  

 
 
Supporting friendships collage
 
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