Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Creating a Tactile Schedule Board

Although there are other ways to create a texture based schedule board, I am going to share with you how I did it for one student. This student was blind, had CP and moderate to severe cognitive challenges. The student needed a schedule board to help decrease behaviors around transitions and was capable of using abstract textures/tactile sensations to represent ideas like "physical therapy" or "pre-vocational activities".

The student had previously been using texture symbols as a teaching aid to learn complex information and had enjoyed the process of choosing the textures to match certain items or concepts. I considered two different commercial textured products, because we had already used all of the textured items I could readily put my hands on for his other symbols. The commercial products I considered were Teachable Touchable Texture Squares by Super Duper, Inc. (above) and the Sensory Discrimination Kit by Enabling Devices (left). The Sensory Discrimination Kit provided eight 3x3 inch texture squares for $69.95 and the Teachable Touchable set gave me 2 each of ten different texture squares that were able the same size but soft puffy pillows instead of hard plastic squares and they came in a cloth carrying bag for $19.95. I went for the Teachable Touchables, especially since this was coming out of my pocket.

Once the Teachable Touchables were delivered my student and I sat down and he assigned a different meaning to each of the textures (e.g. the net like one was PT and the corduroy one was OT) with some cues. We practiced matching the textures to the meanings for awhile and then I secured Velcro the backs of each texture.

I already had an Enabling Devices Go! Board in the room that I was not using, so I decided that would work fine. However, if that were not available foam core board covered in clear contact paper would have been worked or even a strip of sanded, painted wood or, perhaps, taped and painted tri-wall. Go! Boards that do not talk with 2x2 inch squares run for about fifty dollars, the Talking Go! Board with the 3x3 inch squares is about $173.00. The foam board, wood or tri-wall is much cheaper.

The Teachable Touchable squares fit fine on the 2x2 inch Go! Board. Now all that needs to be done is to arrange the texture symbols in order each morning and use the texture schedule board with the student the same way a sighted child would be guided to use a visual schedule.

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