This page focuses on advice and definitions surrounding the creation of a tactile illustrated book for visually impaired children. Here, you will find the key elements that makes a book accessible to VI young readers.

This page will be of interest to you if you are new to the world of tactile book. If you already have an idea of a tactile book, you will find information by clicking here. A book created especially for VI readers contains tactile illustration that are made to be understood by VI readers and allows the exploration of ideas. These books are made to make them understand concrete ideas or abstract concepts, to understand the world.

A page from the LDQR tactile book “Going on a bear hunt.”

A special book for visually impaired readers

For blind children it is essential to offer them tactile illustrated books. These books with tactile images can be compared to a visual image in a picture book for a sighted child. A tactile illustrated book means, the images are tangible. How to make them meaningful for a severely visual impaired child, is explained on this website. Both braille and ink print are used to explain the images and help the child to learn the pleasure of reading.

Concepts and how to use them

When we work with visually impaired children, we speak of the importance of concept development. On the basis of what our senses tell us we build ‘concepts’. These help us understand the world. Conceptualization, as this process is called, does not take place in quite the same way in blind children as in sighted children. This is because their perception of many objects and other things in the extrapersonal and peripersonal space (or far and near space) is different. During the day our senses provide us with all kinds of information. This is how we make sense of the world around us. Each sense has its role to play and together they form ‘a bridge to the world’. Blind children need extra support to learn about the world. Language can be a help, but we have to bear in mind that concepts that are constructed from language alone can be misleading. Especially the so called ‘farther-away’ words are difficult to understand for blind children.

Explaining the world to visually impaired children

A tactile illustrated book can help to learn the child about culture. Think of what is special for a country, like the sea, the dunes, the rivers, mountains. But also, the food, the habits, traditions. Stories like fairytales stimulate the phantasy, learn them to overcome fear and broaden their world.  A story about emotions can help the child to understand what happiness, anger, fear etc. Means. Stories about everyday life or a vacation can make memories of what a family experience.