Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Monday, June 25, 2007

Tack-Tiles: Building a better braille instructional aid

Teachers and parents who are in search of a fun yet effective braille teaching tool might want to explore the Tack-Tiles Braille System--a growing collection of instructional aids for anyone interested in learning braille. Tack-Tiles owe their origin to a parent who was seeking a way to teach his young son braille. One day he noticed the similarities between a typical plastic Lego-like block and a braille cell. He modified a set of blocks to represent each letter in the braille alphabet and created a sheet onto which his new invention, Tack-Tiles, could be affixed.

That moment of inspiration has become a multi-faceted instructional tool. A typical Tack-Tile is printed on the forward vertical surface with that Braille character's most commonly used visual code(s). For example, the Tack-Tile with dots 1,4 is labelled [ c/3 ]; Tiles bearing dots 3,4,5,6 are marked [number sign/ ble ]; those with dots 2,5,6 present are labelled [ dd/dis/.] and so forth.

Every Tack-Tile Braille System Set contains 320 tiles, four large support slates (each holds eight rows of 20 tiles), four small slates (four rows of 10 tiles) and a carrying case. Tack-Tiles currently offers the following sets:

  • English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German literary Braille
  • Nemeth Braille for mathematics
  • Braille for music notation
  • Computer Braille

In addition to its standard kit, Tack-Tiles also produces a Calendar Kit. The calendar slate has a magnetic-backing so it can be affixed to any metal surface. It includes enough specialized calendar tiles to display two months at the same time as an aid in teaching calendar concepts, transitions and comparisons. The upper right hand corner of each tile is radiused for proper Braille orientation.

For some imaginative methods for using Tack-Tiles visit the company's web site and follow the link to the Forum.

Tack-Tiles Braille Systems, LLC
PO Box 475
Plaistow, NH 03865-0475
Toll Free: 800-822-5845
Phone: 603-382-1904
Fax: 603-382-1748

Contributor: Malcolm Turner

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.