Tactile Baby Blankets
Tactile baby blankets and quilts are a wonderful way to encourage exploration
Tactile baby blankets or quilts are a wonderful way to encourage exploration among our youngest children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or deaf blindness. Presenting the child with a variety of tactile elements encourages exploration and promotes a baby's cognitive development. While tactile blankets may not seem to be related to literacy, they can help babies with visual impairments develop important motor skills, as well as an understanding of basic concepts which are at the foundation of literacy.
You can also use a tactile blanket to observe the textures and colors that interest your child. While it may take a while for your child to allow their hands, feet, or cheeks to touch the texture, all these opportunities develop interest, use of hands, tactual awareness, and cognition.
Ideally blankets should be designed to suit the individual needs and interests of a specific child. Color preferences, which are especially important in children with cortical visual impairment (CVI), can be considered. Some children strongly prefer different types of textures or, conversely, are reluctant to touch certain textures.
While all items that are attached to a blanket should be very sturdy, care should also be taken with small items which may be a choking hazard.
Blankets can be a collaborative project, with help and input from all members of a child’s team – the family, EI-TVI, Early Intervention Specialist, Occupational Therapist and more.
Using the Blanket
Skills Addressed Through Tactile Blanket
The important thing to remember is that there is no single right way to make a blanket. Think about what your child is interested in and what skills you are hoping to promote. Then use your imagination and put your creativity to work!