Recently, one great news arrived! And, it is a new product ‘LEGO Braille Bricks’ from The Lego Foundation. Learn whole about this product which will help blind and visually impaired children learn in a playful and inclusive way.
Blindness is the toughest to deal with. Yes, it is easy to cope with things if we see it but, it will be difficult if we can’t. And, due to this, the most important thing blinds are missing is EDUCATION.
But since 1837, it at least became possible. Yes, Louis Braille found this tactile reading and writing system for blind and visually impaired people who cannot read or learn print materials. And, this system uses raised dots to represent the letters of the print alphabet.
Similarly, the Braille Bricks project is another boon for blind children to get their education. The projects, co-founded by the Dorina Nowill Foundation, was started to help blind children learn to read and that too while having fun. This project was set up a few years back in Brazil.
Well, recently this idea has been taken on by LEGO, toy production company based in Billund, and also witnessed a change on a much larger scale. This is providing thousands of children the opportunity to learn the touch writing system through play.
Only a few days ago, Lego posted,
“We’re super excited to introduce LEGO Braille Bricks – a new product from @TheLegoFoundation that will help blind and visually impaired children learn Braille in a playful and inclusive way!”
We’re super excited to introduce LEGO Braille Bricks – a new product from @TheLegoFoundation that will help blind and visually impaired children learn Braille in a playful and inclusive way! pic.twitter.com/48cqYEZ54t— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) April 24, 2019
Also, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) took to Twitter and wrote,
We're proud to work with @LEGOfoundation on the development of braille bricks. Thanks to this innovation, children with vision impairment will be able to learn braille and interact with their classmates in a fun way: http://rnib.in/2Psr2iI ”
Introducing #LEGOBrailleBricks!— RNIB (@RNIB) April 24, 2019
We're proud to work with @LEGOfoundation on the development of braille bricks. Thanks to this innovation, children with vision impairment will be able to learn braille and interact with their classmates in a fun way: https://t.co/O3p5Xt4xCN pic.twitter.com/HfklitKCWG
The also wrote,
“#LEGOBrailleBricks is a new playful tool designed to help young people to learn braille. We’re proud to have worked with @LEGO_Group on this innovative development: http://rnib.in/2Psr2il
#LEGOBrailleBricks is a new playful tool designed to help young people to learn braille. We’re proud to have worked with @LEGO_Group on this innovative development: https://t.co/VeibxTOXhO pic.twitter.com/gd67AbCtyR— RNIB (@RNIB) April 24, 2019
On the same day, New College Worcs- an independent boarding and day school for blind or partially sighted students, took to Twitter and wrote,
We have been collaborating with global toy giants, @LEGO_Group and @LEGOfoundation in piloting of brand new, revolutionary #LEGOBrailleBricks - a game-changing product which will help blind and vision impaired children learn through play.
??BIG NEWS!??— New College Worcs (@newcollworc) April 24, 2019
We have been collaborating with global toy giants, @LEGO_Group and @LEGOfoundation in piloting of brand new, revolutionary #LEGOBrailleBricks - a game-changing product which will help blind and vision impaired children learn through play.#LearningThroughPlay https://t.co/kQ8Yf5zKFx
In a press release, Lego company stated that the sets are due to be launched in 2020 and will incorporate both the studs used for characters in the Braille alphabet, plus printed letters so that sighted people can also read the bricks. The company said, they will be “fully compatible” with existing Lego bricks.
“The concept behind LEGO Braille Bricks was first proposed to the LEGO Foundation in 2011 by the Danish Association of the Blind and again in 2017 by the Brazilian-based Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind.”
“It has since been further shaped in close collaboration among blind associations from Denmark, Brazil, UK, and Norway and the first prototypes are now in those same countries for concept testing.”
Regarding this, Treasurer of the European Blind Union, Philippe Chazal,
“With thousands of audiobooks and computer programs now available, fewer kids are learning to read Braille.”
He continued saying,
“This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities.
We strongly believe LEGO Braille Bricks can help boost the level of interest in learning Braille, so we’re thrilled that the LEGO Foundation is making it possible to further this concept and bring it to children around the world.”
In the kit, each of the Braille Brick will be molded with the same number of studs that the Braille alphabet letters and numbers have. Including the complete Braille alphabet, numbers from zero to nine as well as other mathematics symbols, the final set will have around 250 bricks. Also, they are designed with the motive to give inspiration for teaching with interactive games.
However, currently, the product is under tests in Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese and English, while Spanish, German, and French will be tested soon. As the best thing, LEGO has assured that it will distribute the sets free of cost to select institutions. So with this work, many visually impaired children will be able to access them easily.
CEO of the LEGO Foundation John Goodwin said,
“Blind and visually impaired children have dreams and aspirations for their future just as sighted children.
They have the same desire and need to explore the world and socialize through play, but often face involuntary isolation as a consequence of exclusion from activities.”
“In the LEGO Foundation, we believe children learn best through play and in turn develop the breadth of skills, such as creativity, collaboration and communication, that they need in the post 4th Industrial Revolution. With this project, we are bringing a playful and inclusive approach to learning Braille to children.”
He continued saying,
“I hope children, parents, caregivers, teachers and practitioners worldwide will be as excited as we are, and we can’t wait to see the positive impact.”
According to the World Health Organization report, around 19 million children are vision impaired and that too on a global level. And, approximately 1.4 million children have irreversible blindness of these 19 million children. And as per statistics, around 75% of European adults with a sight disability are unemployed, sadly.
Compared with over 50% in the 1950s, only 10% of blind children are learning to read Braille in the United States now. However, instead of advanced digital aids for the blind, things are changing as the people are regaining faith in the relevance of learning Braille, according to the American Printing House for the Blind.
Leslie Edmonds Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Assistive Technology Professional at VisionTechSvcs wrote,
“I am a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and had a struggling #Braille reader in Kindergarten. Incorporating #Legos in to the lesson made all the difference.
Pics show that Braille and Legos are a perfect match for our blind and low vision students!! #TVI”
I am a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments and had a struggling #Braille reader in Kindergarten. Incorporating #Legos in to the lesson made all the difference.— Leslie Edmonds (@VisionTechSvcs) April 24, 2019
Pics show that Braille and Legos are a perfect match for our blind and low vision students!! #TVI pic.twitter.com/1WZtRh9bao
WOW! I'm sure every blind and visully impaired child will love them! Thanks for making this real! Still, that could be even better if you have made the introduction video accessible for all by adding audio description that reads all the text and describes images.— B. (@nymph__) April 24, 2019
You're, strengthening the respect I feel for you as a prime example of a company with every thing you do. This is by far the most impressing thing I've seen in quite a while. I'm - honestly - impressed and amazed by the pure kindness and honesty #Lego stands for.— TimoTweets (@TweetsTimo) April 24, 2019
Best. Toy. On. The. Planet. Period. pic.twitter.com/ts4FSpBkmt— Barb Life (@BrewHammer315) April 24, 2019
Great news, thanks for promoting accessibility and inclusion and for spreading awareness!— Xavier Society for the Blind (@XavierSociety) April 24, 2019
That’s amazing and a stroke of genius @LEGO_Group you should be proud of yourselves for this one!! From one of your biggest AFOL’s. ????????????????????????????????????????????— ????????????????????????????™ (@BigBearF1) April 24, 2019
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