Future Reflections Summer 1996, Vol. 15 No. 3

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Technical Toys For Blind Children And Blind Parents

Technical Toy Committee
Science and Engineering Division
National Federation of the Blind

Modern technology has changed the way in which people are educated. Books with narrative texts have given way to more pictures, video presentations, and even virtual reality. Unless adaptations are made, a person who is blind cannot keep pace with his/her sighted peers in such an environment. As a consequence a person who is blind must have instruction in the use of, and access to, tactual diagrams and models in order to stay competitive.

A committee has been formed within the Science and Engineering Division of the National Federation of the Blind to address the issue of technical toys for the blind. The purpose of the committee is to create sets of instructions for construction toys suitable for persons who are blind. It is the goal of this committee that blind children and blind parents be able to use the various construction and technical toys now on the market. Blind people can work with construction and other technical toys if they have accessible instructions.

If you are interested in helping with this project or you want more information about adapting and using technical toys, please contact: Robert Jaquiss, 11970 S. W. 9th Street, Beaverton, OR 97005. Phone: (503) 626-7174 (Home). Email: robertj@tekgen.bv.tek.com

NOTE: Useful as they are, Parents and teachers must remember that models cannot be used as a substitute for real experiences for young children. A young blind child, for example, who has never tactually explored or smelled a cow will be unable to learn anything useful from a plastic model. Blind children must have personal experiences with the "real thing" in order to gain benefit from abstract models, graphs, and other tactual representations of objects and concepts.

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