Most itinerant TVIs and science teachers at schools for the blind have been in this familiar position. The teacher introduces a new concept unexpectedly and there is either no raised line available for the student with a visual impairment or it is not clear to the student. How can we communicate quickly and clearly the information that is necessary? An "on-the-fly" raised line is most often the easiest way. I will present several ways that I have found to prepare them. This has been difficult for me as stick figures are about the limit of my artistic ability. What I have found, though, is that creating raised lines using the following tools is truly easy. If I can do it, trust me, you can do it!
The APH Draftsman
The APH Draftsman allows the teacher to produce a raised line on a special drawing film which comes with the draftsman and can be ordered separately. Because the film is clear, a copy of the image is placed below the paper and a stylus is used to trace the image onto the paper producing a raised line. This tool is small, portable and I would recommend that both itinerant teachers and teachers at schools for the blind have one on hand. The Draftsman is available using Quota Funds.
The InTACT Sketchpad
Similar to the APH Draftsman in that a tactile pen is used with a specialized paper. The InTACT Sketchpad is only 3 lb. and therefore very portable. Please see The InTact Sketchpad for further information information.
Clipboard and Foam
This very inexpensive option was mentioned by Susan Osterhaus in a video on math raised lines about making concentric circles. This method involves taking a clipboard and putting a piece of Funky Foam (this is the brand name - I thought she was just being cute...) onto the clipboard and then a piece of braille paper. She uses a protractor to make circles in the video, but for science raised lines (other than maybe a lesson on annual growth rings) I would recommend using the above-mentioned tracing wheel. The Funky Foam can be purchased in a craft store or craft section of a department store.
Hot Glue Gun on Cardstock or Braille Paper
This is also a very inexpensive option. First draw the image using a 20/20 marker or permanent marker onto the cardstock or braille paper. Then, using the hot glue gun, trace the image. This provides both a raised line and a bold-lined image.
- Please see the following review of 20/20 pens if you have not used them before. They produce a nice bold line and do not smell like a permanent marker. A MUST-HAVE for any TVI.
In summary, I would recommend always having on hand a method to make a quick raised line. Choose the method that is easiest and, if necessary, cost-effective and your students will be all the wiser for it.
Many thanks to Susan Osterhaus for her excellent video resources.