Books for the sighted and in Braille are tools to change sighted children!
At the initiative of publishing house 'Business or Art', a study was carried out that showed how books for the sighted and in Braille help to change children's attitudes towards people with disabilities. Since 2015, an educational program for children has been conducted, which was attended by about 3,000 children from different Lithuanian cities and towns. In the program, books are a key tool in the game, allowing children to experience different sensations and encouraging them to talk about different people.
In 2015, 130 primary school students participated in the survey and were asked the same questions before and after the educational program. The results showed that:
- When answering the question 'Can a blind be happy?' - 84 percent before the program of the respondents thought that the blind is an unhappy person, and after that - this number dropped to 26 percent.
- When answering the question 'Would children know how to behave when they meet the blind?' - only 9% before the program answered that they know how to behave, and after listening to it - already 83 percent children confirmed they would knew how to behave around the blind.
- Before the educational program 41 percent of the children had touched Braille, and during it everyone had that opportunity.
In 2017 during the educational program, 40 children (9-11 years old) participated in the survey by presenting interactive books in sight and Braille. Before the educational program, 32 children said that the blind were unhappy, and after it only 11 children said that the blind were unhappy. One girl standing up said that the blind is the same as everyone else: they can laugh, create, dance, sing and pursue their dreams, only it is harder for thm, so those around should help.
This study showed that innovative reading tools, e.g. books for the visually impaired and Braille and creative educational programs, address the problem of reducing exclusion, change children's attitudes towards people with disabilities, develop empathy and tolerance, create lasting social value.
In schools, libraries and other cultural, educational and business institutions.
'Business or Art' runs classes for children and youth. It attaches great importance to educational programs for children and youth that help develop different sensations: touch, hearing and vision. The aim of these classes is to acquaint sighted Lithuanian children with visually impaired people and the literature intended for them. Most children have never interacted with a blind person in their life or have not even seen them on the street, so they feel fear and a desire to leave when confronted. In order to solve this topical problem, in the form of play, children are involved in the reading process with their eyes closed and try to complete the formed tasks only by touching and listening. By becoming familiar with Braille and trying to comprehend prominent illustrations in a way that blind people do, participants become familiar with the invisible world, which naturally develops the child’s ability to empathize, tolerate, respect, and accept other people. Encouraging empathy, teaching to empathize with another person's role is undoubtedly one of the most effective methods for developing a child's moral values. It is important to note that such activities not only develop social competencies, improve thinking, improvisation, creativity skills, develop competencies in communication in the mother tongue, but also develop the participants' fine motor skills and sensory system.
During 2016 and 2017, we conducted 23 educational programs, which were attended by 715 children and 81 art, culture and education staff. Not only the organization’s publications for the visually impaired and Braille, but also cultural educational projects and activities are focused on measurable impact.
The instruction helps readers to use the book and this form of play as parents and educators interact with children to develop moral feelings and values.
The upbringing of children begins in the family, so it is important for adults to find time for communication and to be able to pay enough attention not only to the knowledge of minors, but also to their valuable development of understanding of the world.
Parents and educators need to strive to establish moral feelings and values in the child's soul, which will become a priority and a part of life. This book is a tool that helps children get to know a different world, changes attitudes towards people with disabilities, promotes empathy, and develops the values of a young person - kindness, tolerance, understanding.
By interacting with children in the form of a game, touching illustrations and Braille, you can get to know the world invisible to the eye and feel how the blind understand the environment.
The book is not only for sighted children, it is also printed in Braille to make visually impaired people feel equal readers. Blind children can read fairy tales with their parents, grandparents, or loved ones the way sighted people do.
HOW TO USE THE BOOK?
- INTRODUCTION TO PEOPLE WHO 'SEE' THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY. Tell your child that there are different people in the world - some can't hear, others can't walk or think differently… There are people who can't see with their eyes - it's blind people, but they also live a full life, by hearing, tasting, smelling. Let the child understand that each person is different and that is why he/she is special.
- EXPERIENCE AND TOUCH SENSITIVE DEVELOPMENT. Introduce the children to the Braille alphabet. Tell them about the story of the origin of the script for the blind and about the unique feature of visually impaired people - they can read in the dark. Play a game that will not only develop your child's fine motor skills and tactile sensation, but will also allow you to understand how the blinds see illustrations.
- EDUCATION OF CHILD 'S VALUES. After the game, ask the child if it was easy for him or her to grasp the illustrations in the book by touch. Discuss the life of blind people as it is. Is it easy to live for the blind? Tell the child about the values you want to cultivate in him or her, and offer to come up with and do one good job over time to help or brighten the day.
The aim of the game is to guess the pictures in the book with your eyes closed. Before starting to play the game, the player should not have seen the illustrations in the book.
- Close your eyes and open the picture in the book that is on one side of the flap. With both hands, fingertips, 'inspect' the size and shape of the embossed image.
- Help the player to speak aloud all the thoughts that are in the mind. This will open up the imagination and develop creativity. At the beginning, let's try to answer the question, 'What could be depicted here?'
- If the player does not understand the picture, ask another question: 'Is it a living or a lifeless thing?' The book depicts birds, so the player can be helped (prompted) that it is an animal. If an animal therefore has legs and a head, that is what it should discover with its fingers.
- Find out how many legs this animal has, is it short or long? Where is the head, what kind of neck - long or short? Does the animal have ears or a beak - what size is it? All of these questions will help you achieve the goal of the game.
- When a player guesses an illustration, let them see it with their eyes. Was it difficult to guess what is depicted here?
- You can play this game with all the illustrations - they are all tested by blind experts and are easy to understand by touch.