Health Awareness: Blindness

I try to teach my children about disabilities at a young age. It’s important that they have at least a basic understanding of disabilities and realize that although some people have more challenges in life, may look different or act different than us, that they are still just as wonderful as anyone else. I also want them to appreciate with amazement how people with disabilities can overcome great obstacles and lead full normal lives.

I created a hands-on activity to try to help my son grasp how hard it would be for him if he were blind or vision-impaired and couldn’t see the things around them. I filled a bag with little items from around the house and without looking he had to feel around in the bag and guess what the objects were.   He absolutely loved this activity but it was certainly challenging for him at times.

little-boy-getting-toys-out-of-bag

We went to the library and checked out a few books on blindness. These were good because they gave examples of challenges that a blind person might face in basic daily situations that we take for granted because we can see. It was really good for my son to think about how hard these things would be to do if he couldn’t see.

I was really excited that we stumbled upon a particular book called, The Black Book of Colors by Cottin and Faria. It did the perfect job of really hitting it home with my son about how different his world would be if he couldn’t see for it highlights the difficulties in understanding the concept of color when you can’t see.

the black book of colors

The pages are all in black. There are typed words and also braille words. And the book is all about color.

This page reads, “Thomas says yellow tastes like mustard, but is as soft as a baby chick’s feathers.”

braille story

There are raised pictures that go along with each page of text. What an amazing book!

feathers

Of course, there is a braille alphabet in the book as well. Nicholas tried to use it but realized just how difficult it can be to read braille. As with most things, it takes a lot of practice to get good at it.

You can get a free embossed braille alphabet card at the National Braille Press website.   Here’s what it will look like except that you can actually feel the raised dot letters:

alphabet_cardIt is important for children to understand what disabilities are and how people affected by them are still people just like you and me. I hope that as he gets older and meets more people with disabilities, that he will embrace their differences and see them with all the beauty that they have as individuals.

Here is another great post about teaching kids about sight.

9 Comments

  1. I haven’t thought about blindness. I’ve been teaching my son a little sign language. He knows some of the alphabet, and some words, like please/thank you, thirsty, boy/girl. I like the idea of teaching about blindness as well, I should see if the local library has that book or a similar one!

  2. Just to let you know, that this books illustration is just a design fantasy and not really for blind kids. I have it at home just for the love of braill books.

  3. I have 2 children with a genetic condition that causes vision problems and visual impairment. When I explain to children what that means and how it affects them, they are more compassionate and less judgemental of the differences they notice. Like getting close to see, not recognizing or saying hi to a friend, and social dynamics of facial expressions. Thank you so much for helping your children understand!

  4. I haven’t seen this book so I can only comment on what I see here… I am a teacher for the visually impaired and a certified orientation & mobility specialist who works with deafblind children (in case you were wondering what my credentials are) =) From the illustration that I see here, this is most definitely a book for blind children and not a design fantasy!! The raised drawings & the braille certainly makes it a viable book for my visually impaired students! I’m not sure why you think it’s not for blind children… blind children are asked very frequently to describe colors… they are asked questions like ‘how do you know what red is when you can’t see?’ and ‘what do you think of when you hear the color blue?’ I’m going to order this book & share it with my friends & colleagues who are blin

  5. blind & visually impaired. (somehow it got cut off) =) Many thanks to the author of this blog, I would not have known about this book if you hadn’t shared!!

  6. Gayle, thank you for your comment. It is an amazing book for sighted children, blind children and even adults. I’m so glad we stumbled upon it at our library. I’m glad this post was helpful to you.

  7. Karen Brophey says:

    I have a copy of this book in front of me.
    Nina is absolutely correct. This braille in this book is barely legible, as are the tactile diagrams. Certainly not a book for a blind child. The concepts in the book are good but it should not be used to demonstrate to a sighted child what reading braille would be like. The braille in this book is barely raised and quite impossible to read by touch. Be sure to also show them a TwinVision or PrintBraille book which has properly embossed braille.

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