Developing Skillful Hands
Sensory efficiency skills include instruction in the use of residual vision, hearing and other senses including use of tactual, gustatory, and olfactory input to identify one's personal possessions or use hearing and other senses to identify people. This section provides information on skills and strategies for instruction.
By: Carmen Willings
Updated June 9, 2019
All students need to develop strength and dexterity to complete everyday tasks. This is especially important for future braille learners in order to be able to use the braillewriter and slate and stylus. Remember the Occupational Therapist can be a great resource for activities to develop these skills. The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) has a great list of motor activities to encourage pre-braille skills.
Importance of Fine Motor Skills
The development of fine motor skills is important for all students to develop, but is especially important for students who are visually impaired and blind as they rely on their hands to learn about their world. Fine motor skills include palmar grasp, grasp with thumb and fingers, pincer grasp, release, rotary motion, finger isolation, bilateral hand use, hand and finger strength, proper finger position, light touch, and tactual tracking skills. It is important to play with and manipulate a variety of toys and materials that are tactually interesting and to talk to the student about what they are feeling. Fine motor skills become refined through practice and participating in activities that require manipulation of hands and fingers. Learn more about the development of fine motor skills on the Developing Skillful Hands page of this website.
Finger Strength & Grip
Developing finger strength and grip are important skills for all students, particularly for students who will be braille readers/writers. The following are age-neutral activities to help develop finger strength and grip.
Once students begin exploring objects, encourage them to begin to manipulate the objects by banging, shaking, squeezing, poking, pushing, pulling, and moving various parts. Provide a variety of shaped and sized containers for the students to explore. Place toys/objects inside and encourage the student to reach in and pull them out as well as put them back in. Give the student objects that can be put together and pulled apart. Provide toys and objects that are wrapped and have the students unwrap them. Encourage the students to use two hands in an organized manner to manipulate objects (e.g., grasp/release, twist/turn, rotate and examine, open/close, stack, nest). Demonstrate how to perform different actions with the objects to help expand their play skills.
Developing Skillful Hands
Developing skillful hands is important skills for all students, especially for students who will be braille readers/writers. The following are age-neutral activities to help develop finger strength and grip. Students can also explore items to take apart and examine such as old toasters, flashlights or radios.
Motor Activities to Develop Pre-Braille Skills
You are welcome to print and use this list of motor activities that can help develop tactual skills and pre-braille skills.
Hands On Kit: Functional Activities for Visually Impaired Preschoolers This kit, available from APH, provides suggestions on helping children develop skills such as concentration and hand and visual coordination. The work-play trays help define the work space.
Sign up for free membership to access the FREE downloadable handbooks and handouts on the Free Printables page along with access to the Goal Bank pages. Simply click on the Log In | Register link in the navigation bar. If you haven't joined yet, you will be prompted to create a password.
ECC Complete Set Bonus Pages
Purchase the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set and immediately unlock the pages within the ECC Complete Set Bonus including bonus printables, interactive sensory stories, interactive matching activities, interactive choice making activities, job task box activities and MORE! This is my way of continuing to support you and say "Thank you!" for choosing to purchase the Complete Set.
TVI's Guide Complete Set Bundle + BONUS Resources
Buy together and get BONUS resources!
The TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC Complete Set includes the following:
The LOTTO Cards Grab and Go Supplement includes 37 theme related unit cards along with activity suggestions that support activities within the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC.
On My Way File Folder Cards
Print and use these cards to represent locations the student may visit that are related to the current thematic unit. Use these with the On My Way File Folder Game outlined in the TVI's Guide to Teaching the ECC p. 27.
NEW! Access to TVI's Guide Bonus Membership Pages
Bonus pages include tutorials, printables, interactive sensory story downloads, and interactive choice making, matching and visual discrimination computer games (PowerPoint based interactive games), and job task activities.
All products are digital pdf downloads. Once you make your purchase you will be directed to an order confirmation page where you will find the download link. This download will also be included on the receipt sent to the email address you provide. The pdf download can be found directly under the order number. If you encounter any difficulty, please let me know and I can assist you. Once you purchase the complete set you will have immediate access to the bonus pages!
*Please contact me if you need to purchase using a purchase order. I am happy to help guide you in the process of adding Teaching Students with Visual Impairments as an approved vendor for your school or program or you can visit the product support page for information on using a PO.
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