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Tactile Learning Strategies

Vision and hearing are the primary senses through which education occurs for most children. When these senses are absent, distorted, or diminished, educators and families must use alternative strategies to support learning. 

These strategies include tactile modeling, mutual tactile attention, and the use of a hand-under-hand approach to interactions in which you place your hands underneath a child’s as you demonstrate something, follow the child’s interests, or join with them as they explore objects and surroundings.

Most children with deaf-blindness have residual hearing and vision. To enhance learning, tactile learning strategies are paired with other approaches that incorporate the other senses (e.g., smell, taste, proprioception).

See also:

Hand-under-hand exploration is a relatively new way of interacting for this child.

Learn More

Touch for Connection and Communication (OHOA Module)

Offline Resources

Book: Chen, D., & Downing, J. E. (2006). Tactile strategies for children who have visual impairments and multiple disabilities: promoting communication and learning skills (pp. 45-72). AFB Press.

Article: Downing, J. E., & Chen, D. (2003). Using tactile strategies with students Who are blind and have severe disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, Nov/Dec 2003, 57-60.

Article: Downing, J., & Eichinger, J. (2011). Instructional strategies for learners with dual sensory impairments in integrated settings. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 36(3-4), 150-157.