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Activity and strategy

Texture Trays

Create texture trays for students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities to encourage tactile exploration

Students with multiple impairments, including visual impairments, have a tendency to shy away from textures. They are frequently thought to be tactually defensive, but I disagree. I have found with my students over the years that they are more tactually hesitant, as they often haven’t been exposed to the textures.  When we give them a new texture and they move their hand or foot away, we typically say, “he/she doesn’t like rough textures.”   When a student does this, I continue to offer them the texture and incorporate things they like with the texture. 
  • Outdoor carpet grass
  • Cookie sheet
  • Hot glue
  • Items of different textures, including things that the student prefers and likes to touch


Texture traysIn the picture on the left you will see that I have hot-glued outdoor grass carpet onto a cookie sheet. The cookie sheet has a bit of a lip to help hold items in the tray. I’ve hot glued the edges down, so the grass will stay glued down better and so the edges don’t fray when touched (leaving little grass pieces everywhere!). On top of the grass I have placed rocks and sea shells, which are two of the textures and items that this student does not mind touching. 

At first he was hesitant to touch the grass. we explored it together using “hand under hand” (with his hand “piggy backing”mine).  When he touched it willingly by himself, I added the rocks and shells, but only a few to start. He really enjoyed this and no longer minded the grass texture.  I will make more trays for him once we’ve had time to do more things with this tray. I plan to add brightly colored balls and then take his shoes and socks off to see what he thinks. 
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