If your child doesn’t look at you when you’re talking to her, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s not paying attention. On the contrary, it may mean that she’s listening so hard she is not able to look at you at the same time. That’s because her preferred mode of input may be via her hands, not via her ears or eyes.
Tactile learners touch things to get a sense of them. They learn by handling objects. If they have to use their listening skills, they prefer to supplement that with a tactile activity like clicking a pen on and off.
To interest a tactile child in books (which is the first step towards teaching them to read and write), let her hold the book in their hands during the reading session, as opposed to placing it on a table. Let her turn the pages, point to the pictures, trace the word lines. For babies and toddlers, the “Touch and feel” books with textured pictures are best.
When the child is ready to start learning the alphabet, cut the individual letters out of small-grained sandpaper and let her trace their grainy surface with her fingertip. Buy three-dimensional magnetic letters to stick on the fridge. Make letters together from play dough. Bake letter-shaped cookies. Let the child write and draw with her fingers in fine sand.
Tactile children of school-going age will most likely find the traditional teaching methods (via the blackboard and auditory lessons) a challenge. Augment their learning by encouraging them to make models of what they’re learning, create textured maps and complete educational jigsaw puzzles. Help them make the very learning tools they need, such as flip chutes and wrap-arounds and electro-boards. (Feel free to contact us for instructions on how to make those.)
Your child’s Learning Style Analysis (LSA) report on www.creativelearning.com will tell you whether your child is a tactile learner and whether they will respond well to tactile learning tools.
(Inspired by Maria Montessori, who said: “Never give to the mind more than you give to the hand”.)