My good friend, Norton Richman, has been a rehabilitation teacher with the blind for most of his career. The other day, he informed me that his organization, the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired for the Commonwealth of Virginia, offers a number of toys and games for those who have no or little vision. Here is what he writes:
It has been my experience, in working with the blind for over 45 years, that toys for the young and old provide a richness to their lives in a myriad of ways. For the young, soft toys or toys that make noise act as tactile stimulus. It is one way parents can interact with their child. Older children and adults get the same joy as the general population, in socializing over a game or with a toy.
The focus is not on the lack of sight, but the game itself. And its not just with games. For example, there is a great deal of satisfaction and just plain fun for the vision impaired to be able build a model. There are so many toys and games available for the blind that it would difficult to list them all. Here are just a few:
- Beeping balls(such as soccer or basketballs)
- Braille checker and chess sets ( with sunken playing board squares and with holes for the insertion of the pegged chessmen)
- Braille Scrabble sets with Braille tiles, a tactile board, a rotating table and instructional audio tape.
- Braille playing cards.
There are many creative toys for the blind that have yet to be developed, both tactile and technological. So much fun to think about the possibilities for all of us!