A task approach for refinement in tactual perception

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Lindsey, Julia Ann, 1941-
McElhinney, James H.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of the study was to determine if subjects could be trained to discriminate surfaces by experiencing a series of structured training tasks utilizing apparatus developed for training discrimination in tactual perception of surfaces perceived by the finger tips.The subjects of the study were the legally blind male and female students in the kindergarten, first, and second grades at a midwestern residential institution for blind children. The age range of the 15 subjects who participated in the study was six years one month through twelve years six months. These subjects represented 65% of the total population of the three grades.The study was a pretest-posttest control group design. Each subject received a pretest and a posttest which utilized the Roughness Discrimination Test, a test designed to predict Braille reading readiness. Each subject of the experimental group experienced a series of game-type activities utilizing two sets of wooden blocks with surfaces covered with #100, #80-D, #60, #50, #40, and #36 production paper. Each subject of the control group experienced the series of game-type activities utilizing one set of wooden blocks with surfaces finished to the extent that no textural surface variation existed. The pretest, experimental group treatment, control group activity, and posttest were all administered by the examiner to each subject on an individual basis.The data were examined both descriptively and statistically utilizing measures of central tendency, the Mann-Whitney U-test, and analysis of variance. The measures of central tendency yielded a mean increase of 8.37 points for the experimental group and an increase of 2.28 points for the control from pretest to posttest. The median score increased 23.50 points for the experimental group and decreased four points for the control group. The analysis of data through the Mann-Whitney U-test and analysis of variance yielded no statistically significant difference at the 0.05 or the 0.01 levels of significance.Within the limits dictated by this study, the following conclusion was made. The tactual training tasks as designed and utilized in this study do not change in a positive direction the ability to discriminate surfaces as measured by the Roughness Discrimination Test.Based upon the results of the study, the following recommendations were made for further research:A study similar to the present one should be conducted introducing practice as a variable.A study similar to the present one should be conducted comparing and contrasting the performance of day school and public school blind children with residential school blind children.A study similar to the present one should be conducted utilizing blindfolded, sighted children as subjects for the purpose of comparing the ability to discriminate with that of blind children.