To celebrate the birth of Louis Braille, who developed the Braille system of printing and reading when he was 15 years old, January is Braille Awareness month. We thought this might be a nice opportunity to introduce the girls to this very important method of communication.
The question was, how to make it interesting and relevant? Our first thought was to make a quick stop at our local branch of the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) to see if they had any resources to offer, and they sure did! They gave us these really cool cards that had a list of visual impairments along with a hole to look through so the girls could actually see what it would be like to live with each of the impairments. They also gave us pamphlets that had Braille writing on them so the girls could feel the actual texture of the raised dots. These went over really well with the girls; they loved looking through the holes and commented on how difficult it could be to live the life of a visually impaired person. The message seemed to really hit home that there are resources who can make it easier, and that everything is possible to those with reduced eyesight.
We worked in partners and used toothpicks to poke holes in paper and sent Braille messages to each other. All the leaders had fun with this, too, as the girls were trying to see how many of the answers we’d get right.
We discussed Louis Braille, and spoke about the history of Braille and that it wasn’t taught to the visually impaired until well after Louis Braille‘s death. We also talked about places where they have seen Braille during their daily lives, such as in elevators, restrooms and in schools. We finished the night with a game of Braille twister! The girls had to play with their eyes closed and the spinner was all in Braille.
I was so impressed at how well the girls took in the information and worked really hard to make their Braille messages for each other. I think that this activity taught the girls that anything is possible for everyone – living life is INCLUSIVE!
By guest blogger and Guider Melanie Pereira-Tucker, 14th Oshawa Girl Guides
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