Tactile Bump Dots

Sticky Dots, Bump Dots, Locator Dots, Bump Locator Dots, Tactile Indicator Dots

UDL 1.3 UDL 4.1

Tactile Bump Dots are physical indicators, such as raised circular dots made of plastic, that support students with vision loss to distinguish a specific area on an object by altering the height or texture of the surface (e.g., an enter key or spacebar on a keyboard, a lever on a soap dispenser, on/off buttons on an audio player). To use Tactile Bump Dots, a teacher first identifies the specific location on an object that the student most frequently needs to identify or access for classroom use. Next, the teacher strategically places a Tactile Bump Dot on the area to serve as an indicator (e.g., dot placed on a specific bin in the paper choice area to signify the Braille paper bin) or a point of reference for other closely placed objects (e.g., the “F” and “J” keys on a keyboard for finger placement while typing). Using Tactile Bump Dots provides students with the opportunity to easily identify items with independence.

Implementation Tips

Preparing Tactile Bump Dots
Use dots made of materials that either provide high contrast with the surface of the object being identified, such as these [[ | circular, raised Tactile Bump Dots ]], or low-rise contrast, such as cork board, [[ | slightly raised felt tabs ]] often used on the bottom of chair and table legs, or any other flat, textured material.
Collaborative Decision Making
Allow a student with vision loss an opportunity to touch and feel different Tactile Bump Dot materials in order to support the decision making process of which heights and textures best fit the student’s tactile needs. This process also helps the student learn to distinguish between different dot textures.
Tactile Bump Dot Placement
Confer with the student before placing a Tactile Bump Dot to gauge which areas/materials the student will need to access (e.g., paper bin, specific keyboard keys, such as the enter, backspace, or delete keys). Once placed, show the location of each dot with physical prompting (e.g., guiding finger to each item).
Avoiding Confusion
Keep Tactile Bump Dot placements to a minimum to allow for greater accessibility and minimize confusion. Use a sharp contrast, such as highly raised dots for larger items (e.g., wall hand sanitizer push tab), and low-rise dots, such as contrast fabric for smaller items (e.g., a felt dot on the enter and backspace keys of a keyboard).
Prompting and Cues
Use physical prompting (e.g., hand-over-hand guidance) to direct the student when accessing a Tactile Bump Dot for the first few times, then shift to verbal prompting with directional cues (e.g., left, right, straight, follow the table line) so that the student can learn to orient themselves to the object.
Keep Tactile Bump Dots readily available to support the needs of a student with vision loss over time. Conduct check-ins to monitor if new areas/materials need to be marked with a dot, or if the student’s preferences have changed (e.g., able to easily access the enter and backspace key, but needs support locating specific letters).
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Modifications
Create DIY modifications of Tactile Bump Dots if prefabricated plastic dots are unavailable by using puff paint, glue dots, textured wallpaper cuttings, or small cork pieces. Make sure that DIY modifications of Tactile Bump Dots provide enough contrast as a raised or textured surface.


High and Low Dots
After noticing that a student with vision loss had difficulty finding the power button on a computer as well as identifying where certain keys are on the keyboard, a teacher introduces the use of Tactile Bump Dots. The teacher and student collaboratively decide to place a high-contrast dot (e.g., raised plastic dot) on the power button and low-contrast dots (e.g., small felt pieces) on the letters “F” and “J” to support left and right hand placement while typing. To help the student keep track of the dot locations, the teacher provides hand-over-hand guidance with verbal cues (e.g., "Remember that the felt dot on the left is the "F" key and the felt dot on the right is the "J" key.").
Textured Dots
While observing students transitioning into independent writing, a teacher notices a student with vision loss having difficulty navigating materials (e.g., opening and closing each paper bin drawer, fumbling with pencil boxes within a table storage container). To support the student while accessing these items, the teacher explains, “We can place a Tactile Bump Dot on the braille paper bin so you know which one contains the writing paper you’ll need, and another dot on your personal pencil box for quick identification.” The student is given a choice of DIY Tactile Bump Dot textures (e.g., puff paint, felt squares, textured wallpaper pieces) to reflect preferred tactile needs.

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