Touch cues are receptive communication cues that are very important for all children with visual loss. Children with CVI benefit from touch cues for greetings and before touching or moving their bodies. Consistent touch cues allow the child to anticipate what is happening next and who is touching them. Using touch cues reduces anxiety and increases the child’s sense of control over the world.
The touch cues are given directly to the part of the child’s body that will be touched or moved.
- Touch to the foot before moving it to put on a sock or shoe.
- Touch to the chin before giving the bottle.
- Touch to the arm before moving it to place in a sleeve.
Using consistent person identifier touch allows the child to understand who is interacting with them
- Dad always holds my knee when greeting me.
- Mom always strokes my upper arm when she greets me.
Touch cues can be directional:
- Pushing slightly in the direction of the roll before rolling them over on their side.
- Stroking down the sides of the head before pulling the shirt down over the head.
- Stroking both legs downwards before pulling down the pants.
As the child becomes familiar with a touch cue, give the cue and wait slightly. Does the child raise the leg that the cue indicated? This is wonderful expressive communication and tells us much about the child’s understanding of the touch cue and ability to anticipate.
Touch cues can be developed by anyone but must be consistently used by all for optimal understanding.