FREE VI Program Templates
Become a member for FREE to access the Printable VI Program Templates to support your district's vision program. Includes VI Program resources, FVE/LMA templates and NEW Sample FVE Reports ebook. Simply click on Log In|Register in the navigation bar at the top of the page and follow the directions to register and create your password.
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Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
Good Tactile Graphic: Booklet
This booklet, available through APH, provides specific guidelines for the design of tactile graphics, expanding on those mentioned in the videos on the Good Tactile Graphic DVD. It also provides further resources and information that may be of use to creators of tactile graphics. In addition, it contains actual samples of some of the tactile graphics depicted in the videos.
APH.SQUID Tactile Activities Magazine This activities magazines, available through APH, introduce a recreational approach to tactile literacy. SQUID Magazine is deceptively fun: while your child or student enjoys a variety of activities, he or she will acquire skills needed to become a more proficient tactile reader. These puzzles, games, and brainteasers will foster: Texture discrimination, Systematic searching, Shape identification, Tracking line paths, Pattern building and recognition, and Understanding symbols
For younger students and those with cognitive delays, it is essential to provide concrete materials and opportunities for interaction with real materials in order to develop conceptual understanding of their world. For future braille readers, it is important to provide early and frequent exposure to braille. Suggestions on promoting literacy can be found in the Language Arts section of this site. Once the student has an understanding of the real material, it is important to then move toward models, 2D symbols and raised line drawings. These are referred to as tactual graphics. The ability to read tactual graphics and charts is essential as part of a braille student’s literacy program.
It is important to understand that tactile presentations are not automatically meaningful to a student who is blind. The student will need to be taught how to read tactual graphics. Preparation and foundations for reading tactual graphics should be included in the process of learning braille. The ability to read graphics, diagrams, graphs, and maps will be required for academic success. Understanding of basic concepts is critical to reading tactual graphics. Some of these include: far, near, next to, beside, above, below, overlapping, crossing, intersecting, perpendicular, and parallel. It is also essential to have basic tactual perceptual skills: tracking, discrimination among similar symbols, and comparison.
The student must also be aware that diagrams can have different views including cross section, aerial, frontal view, perspective and distance, and imaginary lines used in 3-D drawings. The student must also be taught to systematically scan the graphic. The student should be encouraged to use a consistent pattern for exploring and to select a reference point within the graphic to determine when the entire graphic has been explored.
Much of text content in textbooks, handbooks, and worksheets are presented in graphic form. This includes high stakes tests where students will be required to interpret graphs, charts and tactual diagrams. The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) has developed guidelines and standards for the production of tactual graphics. According to BANA, “The purpose of these guidelines and standards is to provide transcribers, educators, and producers with information about best practices, current methods, and design principles for the production of readable tactile graphics.” It is essential for tactual graphics in textbooks and assessments to follow these guidelines.
Key Design Guidelines
BANA provides a downloadable 362 page manual on Tactual Graphics guidelines. The following are just a couple of the key points!
Don't be intimidated by the overwhelming amount of rules for creating graphics. Although planning ahead is ideal, some flexibility is permitted in order to provide “on the spot” graphics as needed
Common Methods of Producing Tactile Graphics
A collage tactile graphic can be created using a variety of craft materials that can be found in craft stores or recyclables. Possible materials for creating the area include braille paper, cardboard, Handi wipes, textured paper, fine sandpaper, needlepoint backing or fabric. To create lines, you could use string, wire, candlewick, thread, or puff paint. To create point symbols, use materials such as cork, felt, circle from hole punch, glue-ons, stick ons, or foam shapes. Labels can be created using commercially available clear labels or laminating sheets.
A tooled tactile graphic can be created using materials such as paper, aluminum diagramming sheets, or overhead projector sheets. Tools such as an embossing wheel, embossing tools from APH kits, stencil tools, etc. are used to mark papers and aluminum sheets. The user traces on the back of the paper to reverse the image. A combination of tooling and collage provides a graphic that is tactually different and easy to read.
Microcapsule Paper and Heat (Swell graphics)
Microcapsule paper is a special paper onto which thermally-foamed microcapsules have been uniformly coated. These microcapsules of wheat-flour-like form will instantly expand to hundreds of times as much as the original volume upon absorbing the energy of light or heat. Any material in black and white such as a line drawing, map, graph, illustration, photograph and chart can be three-dimentionalized when printed on specialized paper and fed through a specialized machine such as the Picture in a Flash or Swell form graphics machine.
Thermoforming is a the process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, formed to a specific shape in a mold. Equipment and supplies are available through American Thermoform Corporation.
Additional Online Braille Resources...
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) The mission of BANA is to assure literacy for tactile readers through the standardization of braille and/or tactile graphics. BANA disseminates rules, makes interpretations and renders opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of people who are blind in North America.
Their publication on Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics is available in hardcopy format through the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). This 365 page manual is also available online for download. This can be found on the BANA website. The following are some key points from the guidelines.
Tactile Graphics Web Resource
A great resource on everything pertaining to the creation of tactual graphics can be found at www.tactilegraphics.org. This site was created and maintained by Lucia Hasty, who is a consultant and has developed training materials on tactile graphics. She is also a co-author of the recent BANA Guidelins and standards for Tactile Graphics.