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Part 2

When we see our student or child who will be learning primarily through the tactile sense and is chronologically or developmentally young, we often look with an untrained eye at what the child is doing.  We sometimes fail to see the wondrous tactile skills a child already exhibits.  The ability to move any part of the body is a blessing, and is integral to learning, even if the movement is very subtle. 

If someone moves, we must look at how they move.  Will they reach out from their own body even a little bit with the hands, feet, or head?  What do they do with their hands and mouth?  Do they kick or wave their arms?  Are they able to wiggle the torso? What kind of expression does the body communicate that the face may not?  Is it excitement, frustration, security or anxiety?  Any sort of movement can be used to interact with the environment and/or people, and will be an asset to this child's learning.  We must train ourselves to notice and respond to the body and hands of our children as well as offer up our body and hands to validate their movement.  We must also offer environmental factors that will respond to the type of movement the child currently uses.  

During a Power of Touch workshop a small group of parents spent time learning about touch and having opportunities to practice some of the skills Barbara Miles discussed in her article, Talking the Language of the Hands to the Hands.  One of the activities they did during the workshop was to simply observe another child to see what he or she did with his body related to touch.  

Later the parents were invited to simply offer their hands or an object to their child and follow the child's lead in exploring the object tactilely.

Here are some of their comments.

 Activity 3:

Read Tactile Skills for Students with Visual Impairments and think about the tactile skills you observe in your child or student or notice when you offer hands or objects.

Continue to Part 3: Interacting with Others Tactilely / Tactile Communication

Jump to Part 4: Articles and Resources on Touch 

Return to Introduction: Touch and the Development of the Tactile Sense

Return to Part 1: Importance of Touch and Tactile Skills