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Activity and strategy

Tactile Superhero Book

Make your own braille tactile book about superheroes for children who are blind, deafblind or low vision.

My son Liam is 7 years old and in second grade.  He is deafblind and a braille reader.  Books are one of Liam’s very favorite things.  I wanted to share about a book that I made Liam for one of his Christmas presents: a book about Superman.  

One day Liam’s brother (4 years old, typical vision and hearing) was talking to me about Spiderman. Something from that conversation got me thinking that Liam really doesn’t know about many superheroes and toys that his brother and Liam’s peers would know and be talking about. I made it a goal for myself to change that.  If Liam’s peers knew about Superman, Spiderman, etc. I think he should too. Another one of my goals that I have been working on with Liam is teaching him how to play with toys and understand toys that other kids his age may be playing with. I want to give him as many opportunities to find hobbies/toys that he can enjoy and be able to have in common with his classmates.  With a child that is deafblind this doesn’t always come naturally, they need support and time it takes for them to learn how to enjoy activities. Sometimes it will take many, many times of playing with something together before he actually enjoys it and can do it by himself. It can be very time consuming and take a lot of patience (for both of us!), but it is well worth it in the end.    

Liam in a superman costume
Liam in a superman costume

My first step was to create a Superman book.  I choose Superman first because he had just been Superman for Halloween this year at school, so he has a little background knowledge already to build on and he loved his costume. The Superman book explained a simplified version of the story of Superman.  I also got him an action figure toy that went along with the story. I wanted to find an action figure that included clothes so he could turn Superman into Clark Kent as well.  

My future Superhero books I hope to make:

  • Spiderman
  • Captain America
  • Batman
  • Ninja Turtles
  • Superhero story 
text of a Superman story
Click to download the Superman story I used.

Materials

  • Action figure (in this case, with regular clothes)
a Superman action figure
A Superman action figure
  • Materials for book
    • Plastic grass
    • Wooden figures
    • A piece of a tie
    • A piece of fabric (to represent the cape)
    • Puffy pain for tactile images
the Superman logo in puffy paint
I used puffy paint to make a tactile Superman logo.

Procedure

I created the book using a Superman story and tactile objects to represent parts of hte story. Liam can read the braille and feel the tactile objects when we read the book. 

Text:

His spaceship landed on a field that belonged to a farmer and his wife. They took the baby and named him Clark Kent.

a page from the superman story with plastic grass and a wooden figure
A page from the Superman story with plastic grass and a wooden figure; text in braille with interlined print

Text:

Clark grew up with farmer and his wife. They cared for him. Clark was a good boy. One day he discovered he was very strong.

a page from the superman story with two wooden figures one male and one female
Page from the Superman story with two wooden figures (one female and one male); text in braille with interlined print

Text:

He could lift heavy things. He could fly. He could hear and see things far away. Now an adult Clark works as a journalist at a

a page from the superman story book with a piece of a newspaper
A page from the superman story book with a piece of a newspaper; text in braille with interlined print

Text:

newspaper company called the Daily Planet. Clark wears a suit and tie and glasses to work. He is a good man that wanted to help other people.

a page from the superman story with a tie on it
Page from the Superman story with a necktie on it; text in braille with interlined print

Text:

When he heard someone far away in trouble, Clark will go hide and changes his clothes to become Superman.

Superman will fly away and help save people.

a page from the superman story with a piece of paper
Page from the Superman story with a piece of paper; text in braille with interlined print

Text:

Superman has blue pants with red boots and big letter S on his chest. He wears a red cape.

a page from the superman story with fabric representing a cape
Page from the Superman story with blue fabric representing his pants; text in braille with interlined print

Other ideas:

Liam’s Speech teacher created a book about a popular children’s cartoon show that she read with Liam. He then was able to share it with his brother and classmates. It was a great opportunity for Liam to work on interactions with his peers in a meaningful way and for him to be included.

Collage of creating your own tactile braille book about superheroes
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