A Developmental Sequence for Teaching Tactile Skills
Authors: Ann Adkins, Education Specialist, TSBVI Outreach Program
Keywords: tactile skills, tactile learning, developmental sequence, Hierarchy of Tactile Skills, tactile development
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In the previous issue of TX SenseAbilities, we published an article about the development of tactile skills. The authors stressed the importance of providing appropriate tactile experiences for students at all stages of development and suggested some resources, materials, and activities to help in the instruction of tactile skills at each stage. They also explained the sequential nature of tactile learning and the importance of having students demonstrate mastery of each step in the Hierarchy of Tactile Skills in order. This hierarchy emphasizes the cognitive aspects of tactile learning, delineating the sequence of skills needed to move from the concrete skills of tactile exploration, manipulation, and identification of real objects to the very abstract skills of discriminating braille symbols.
A new publication from the TSBVI Curriculum Department, Nemeth at a Glance: A Math Resource, Grade-Level Chart, and Evaluation Tool (Cleveland et al., 2017…give link), includes an entire chapter on tactile skills and offers another way of thinking about the progression of skills needed by tactile learners. The authors share two different ways of thinking “in terms of both cognition and skill levels” (page 16), which are represented in the chart below. It may be helpful to examine both of these ways of thinking when determining a course of evaluation and instruction that will be most meaningful to specific students.