We found this wonderful gem written by Jim Durkel before his death.
APH has a wonderful new tool for orientation and mobility called Tactile Town. Here is the description taken from the APH Web site:
"This kit assists in the development of cognitive mapping skills by helping students who are visually impaired and blind perceive and organize their physical environment specific to concepts such as street layouts, intersections, route patterns, city block arrangements, etc. It encourages active participation and interaction with displayed map layouts so that concepts and skills, not conveniently accessed through real-life exploration, can be learned and practiced."
I have to admit I have a personal bias toward using Tactile Town as I was able to use it during the field testing phase. The number of uses was huge at that time and it continues to grow. I use the set with students of all ability levels, from those with multiple disabilities to those who are clearly on a path to be world travelers and future leaders. For some students it provides a platform for play, purposeful play that can have concepts infused into it. An example might be having a toy bus with a basic street layout and talking about why the bus has to be on the right side of the street in order for the door to open at the sidewalk to let the students out. More advanced students can be challenged with making a model of a light business area and then describing directional corners and alternate routes to various businesses. The set is a perfect compliment to students' evolving conceptual development and travel environment. You can even make a model of round-a-bout for planning your next lesson to visit one. If you have the opportunity to get this set for your teaching toolbox (available with quota funds by the way) you will be very happy you did!