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 loved by God as we are. I also want them to appreciate with amazement how people with disabilities can overcome great obstacles and lead full normal lives.
We talked about hearing loss and sign language recently. Today we talked about blindness and braille.
I created a hands-on activity to try to help my children grasp how hard it would be for them if they couldn't see the things around them. I filled a bag with little items from around the house and without looking they had to feel around in the bag and guess what the objects were. Nicholas did pretty well but got stumped a few times.
I looked for a local organization that supports the blind to see if there was somewhere that we could visit to get more information about blindness and braille. I found lots of information online including an amazing woman in our local area who makes braille bracelets. Her business is At First Sight. Her braille alphabet bracelet is my favorite and I would love to own one. It is so beautiful and unique but it's also a great way to promote awareness about the importance of braille.
We went to the library and checked out a few books on blindness. They 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 the kids to think about how hard these things would be to do if they 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 Nicholas how different his world would be if he couldn't see for it highlights the difficultlies in understanding the concept of color when you can't see.
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."
There are raised pictures that go along with each page of text. What an amazing book!
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.
Hopefully Nicholas has a better grasp for what disabilities are and how people affected by them are still people just like you and me. I pray 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 God created in each and every one of us and our differences.