LEGO Introduces Customized Bricks to Help Kids with Visual Impairments Learn to Read Braille
LEGO just took a gigantic step forward for the sake of visually impaired kids.
The construction-toy company announced the launch of their newest initiative — Braille Bricks — in a press release on Wednesday, which they describe on the product’s website as “a fun and playful way to learn Braille.”
“Blind and visually impaired children have dreams and aspirations for their future just as sighted children,” said LEGO Foundation CEO John Goodwin, in a press release. “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.”
“With this project, we are bringing a playful and inclusive approach to learning Braille to children,” Goodwin continued. “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.”
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According to the press release, the bricks will be produced “with the same number of studs used for individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet, while remaining fully compatible with the LEGO System in Play.”
“To ensure the tool is inclusive allowing sighted teachers, students and family members to interact on equal terms, each brick will also feature a printed letter or character,” the release continues.
Currently, testing is underway on the bricks in the English, Norwegian, Danish and Portuguese languages, while LEGO expects to test French, Spanish and German in Q3 this year.
Treasurer of the European Blind Union, Philippe Chazal, said in the release that “fewer kids are learning to read Braille” perhaps as a result of audiobooks and computer programs.
“This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities,” he added. “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.”
LEGO Braille Bricks are expecting to be available beginning in 2020, the product’s website reveals.
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