I used to work for a non-profit clinic/pre-school that began as a school for blind children, so we saw several children that were blind or VI. You are right that so much of our language materials are visual. A lot of early learning is sparked by watching others, I tried to create tactile learning opportunities for them in the classroom. One of the best things we did at the pre-school level was create and use "story boxes". Each storybook had several objects, I would introduce each to my blind student as I read the story to the class. All the students had a chance to interact with the storybox while it was in a classroom. For older students, I focused on key elements that I thought would be the most life-changing, maximizing their interaction time. They had to learn turn-taking in a very structured way, I'd guide their hand to each person (or toy) and say "Tom's turn". This seemed pivotal for increasing their interactions w/ others. I'm getting ready to go back to work now, after illness that has left me visually impaired and unable to read for more than 1hr at a time. I learned how to use a white cane, and braille, and can't wait to get back to working with these kids!
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