Release Date: 
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Carrie Thomson
Iowa Parents of Blind Children
(515) 834-9003
(515) 577-1204 (Cell)

Accessible Toys and Games for Blind Children to be Highlighted at Fall Seminar

Des Moines, Iowa (August 13, 2008): The Parents of Blind Children division of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa (IPOBC) today announced that it will be holding an all-day seminar on how to choose and locate toys and games that are accessible to blind and visually impaired children.  This seminar will be held on September 27, in West Des Moines, and it will deal with questions that have frustrated many blind parents who have been searching for toys that allow their blind children to experience the same fun and enjoyment as sighted children.

"This seminar grew out of our Saturday School program that our group of parents has been holding every second Saturday morning of each month in Des Moines.  We got together with blind people who could serve as positive role models for our children.  While our children worked on Braille, independent travel, and other skills they need to succeed in life, we got together and discussed the issues that we as parents of blind and visually impaired children shared," said Carrie Thomson, president of the Iowa Parents of Blind Children.  "We learned a lot from each other," she added.  "After five years, we decided to become an official part of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa and form the parents division.  From there, we wanted to expand the circle of knowledge that we have acquired over the past few years and open the door to more families and friends of blind children.  This can only broaden our children's hopes for the future."

Thomson said that parents of blind children are very concerned about finding truly useful and fun toys and gifts that can be given to children who are blind.  "A lot of people don't know that there are many ways to adapt ordinary toys to make them just as exciting to a blind child as they are to the sighted," Thomson said.  "We hope the seminar will help parents of blind children to learn how easy it is to find the right toy for the child who happens to be blind."

Some of the topics that will be covered during the seminar include strategies for tactually marking games, evaluating games sold at department stores to determine how they might be made nonvisually accessible, and iPods for the blind.  "All of my daughter's friends have iPods," said Thomson, "and I know that the software you have to use to put music on an iPod is not accessible to the blind.  So, how can I give my daughter an iPod?  Perhaps we'll find out before it's time to ask Santa," she said.

"Our twin boys, age six, get as much fun out of toys as any two sighted children, as long as there is some texture, sound, or activity involved," said David Hammel, treasurer of the Iowa Parents of Blind Children.  "You learn as a parent of blind children to look more closely at a toy at the store to see how it actually works before you buy it," he added.

Thomson said that everyone is welcome to attend the seminar.  The seminar is open to family and friends of blind children.  However, space is limited.  A registration fee of $25 is required to cover the cost of a seminar packet, handouts, and lunch.  Persons interested in attending the seminar should contact Carrie Thomson by telephone at (515) 834-9003 or via e-mail at

The Iowa Parents of Blind Children Division, National Federation of the Blind of Iowa is an organization of parents, family, friends, and blind individuals working to advance the educational and social opportunities for blind children across the state of Iowa and the nation.  Under the motto, "We are changing what it means to be blind," the organization educates the public about the ability of persons who are blind to lead productive and self-sufficient lives and advocates for the rights of blind people.