Fun Products for Kids with Low Vision

We often focus on adult-oriented low vision products because about 45% of low vision is caused by age-related macular degeneration. But low vision affects people of all ages.

Kids aren’t completely independent. But they should be learning to be. Toys, games, books, and educational supplies are imperative for their learning. ILA has product categories we offer that are “just for kids.” (But sometimes big kids enjoy these items, too!)

Children’s Toys

Some of our children’s toys were created to be adaptive, and some of them just happen to work well for kids with special healthcare needs. Moshi Snuggle Pals are cute stuffed animals that unfold to form a soft pillow. Snuggle pals are great for children who are seeking sensory input or who have low vision. The jumbo size and tactile appeal make them fun to hold and pet. ILA carries several different animal types of Snuggle Pal.

The CAN-DO Basketball Kit adapts basketball by using a ball with a bell, a goal goal-locator buzzer, and a bell to hang on the net. The goal locator buzzer helps kids find the goal, and one they make a basket, they’ll hear the bell ring in victory.

For the littlest people, we have braille ABC Wooden Blocks. Made from sustainable Michigan basswood, the 28 block set has both Braille and embossed letters on the block, along with traditional letter forms. Alphabet blocks are a classic toy for young children.

Braille Games

Rubik’s Cubes are so popular that we knew we had to carry one. The Tactile Rubik’s Cube is a modified cube that has different tactile markings for each color on the cube. The cube is the same size as the timeless classic, making it just as much of a challenge.

Go Fish! ILA carries braille playing cards. Our cards are the same size as a standard deck, so you can enjoy playing any card game.

One of the coolest items we have is a Complete Braille Sudoku set.  A favorite game of numerical strategy,  this game uses a wooden playing board with Braille number tiles and comes with a Braille book with 100 Sudoku puzzle and solutions

Sale Items

This week, since our focus is on kids, we are offering some of our kids’ items for sale.

4.5X Jumbo Magnifier 3.5 diameter by Learning Resources– $5.76

This extra-large magnifier is perfect for small hands. Observe the world on a grand scale through a jumbo lens that measures 3.5″ in diameter. The magnifier gives 4.5x magnification. Colors vary.

Talking Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle– $10.23

Did you know? Puzzles increase vocabulary, develop hand-eye coordination, improve memory, and build literacy skills. And this 8-piece musical instrument puzzle also develops listening skills. When a child places a piece in its correct spot, the instrument plays. Children will learn to distinguish between the different types of instruments.

60 Minute Jumbo Timer- $11.81

Teach time management skills with our Jumbo Timer. When the time is up, a buzzer sounds and a button pops up. The Jumbo Timer helps structure independence in activities. And don’t tell the kids, but you can borrow this as a kitchen timer as well. The large size and contrasting colors make it easy to see.

 

Don’t forget to check out all of our other kids’ categories, such as educational products!

Atomic Clocks: What are They?

For most people, Daylight Saving Time is an annoyance. The long-term economic benefits are not easily observable, but the immediate inconvenience of resetting clocks and trying to get to bed a bit earlier is apparent.

The average adult used to spend 10 minutes resetting their clocks twice a year. That’s not a long time, but it does add up. And when you consider how many people accidentally re-set their clock in the wrong direction, imagine how much productivity could be lost!

Fortunately, the use of atomic clocks and internet-based is on the rise. Atomic clocks are helping people save time and avoid confusion. They provide peace of mind, knowing that your time is always correct.

What is an Atomic Clock?

An atomic clock is a clock that uses the vibrations of molecules to keep time. The technique of atomic beam magnetic resonance was developed in the 1930s. By the mid-40s, Columbia University professor, Isidor Rabi, was considering how to use this resonance to measure time.

In 1949, the National Bureau of Standards announced the first atomic clock. The vibrations of an ammonia molecule were used to measure seconds. In 1952 the measurement tool was changed to cesium atoms. Over the next ten years, scientists worked to perfect the atomic clock. Finally, in 1968 the world’s most stable cesium clock was completed. It has an error margin of one second every 20 million years.

Atomic Clocks in Your Home

Most of the atomic clocks you buy for your home aren’t literally keeping their time by running off of vibrating cesium atoms. Instead, they synchronize with the time kept by a true atomic clock at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

This synchronization is done through a special radio wave that transmits the date, time, whether it’s a leap year, and whether it’s Daylight Saving Time. Typically, these clocks check their time through the radio signal every few hours. This keeps their accuracy within half a second throughout the day.

ILA’s Atomic Clocks

To make your life easier, ILA offers a variety of atomic clocks. Our Atomic Talking Time and Date Alarm Watch is ideal for anyone with visual impairments or who is Blind.  The hour and minute hands, as well as the numbers, are a bold black that provides good contrast with the white face. The watch also clearly speaks the time, day, date, and month in a pleasant male voice. All you have to do is set your time zone, and you will always have the exact time.

For keeping time on the go, the Talking Atomic Keychain Clock gives you the convenience of an atomic clock on your keychain! It has a large green talking button which will announce the time and the date whenever pressed. It works anywhere in the US and UK because it detects the time via radio signal. And while it comes attached to a keychain, it also includes an additional thin 30″ string lanyard for wearing around the neck.

If you want a little more functionality, the ILA Atomic Talking Clock w/Alarm, Calendar and Wireless Outdoor Temperature Sensor is a talking atomic alarm clock that has all the bells and whistles. And it speaks all the functions to guide you through the settings. Find out the time, date, and indoor and outdoor temperatures. Use the voice function, or for those with some vision, the information is also digitally displayed in large numbers.

 

To see our complete line of atomic watches and clocks, click here for watches, and here for clocks.

 

How to Create Mealtime Independence for Seniors

 

If you are the caregiver for a senior adult who struggles with mealtimes, you understand the fine line between promoting independence at meals and being an enforcer of healthy eating. Whether or not they eat food, or what food they choose to eat is often one of the few things people can still control when other things in their life start to feel out of control. This sometimes leads to an unhealthy pattern of only choosing things that taste a certain way, or refusing to eat enough out of frustration with physical limitations that make self-feeding difficult.

It is tempting to go to extremes by either taking a hard stance on mealtimes or just throwing up your hands and refusing to give any guidance at all. But there are ways to create a healthy balance between independence and assistance while keeping mealtimes a pleasant and stress-free experience. Having the right attitude and employing a few eating aids can go a long way towards helping your loved one enjoy mealtimes again.

Attitude

The first (and easiest) thing to change about mealtimes is your attitude. When you approach mealtimes as a stressful battle, you are setting the stage for problems. Older adults, especially those with dementia, will often pick up on body language and tone of voice more than the words you are saying. If they feel a confrontational vibe, they will mirror that. This will sometimes result in rigid feeding behaviors, like refusing to eat or choosing a limited range of foods.

Mealtime should feel relaxed and pleasant. If you are used to dropping food off in front of your loved one and then using that time to catch up on housework or “me time,” you may want to reconsider. Sitting together at mealtime, sharing a meal, and having conversation will make your loved one feel comfortable and valued. Pleasant, safe feelings lead to better eating habits and encourage a willingness to try new things.

Also, this time together will give you the opportunity to notice if they are experiencing any attention issues or fine motor issues that may make feeding difficult. You can use verbal cues to keep them focused on their meal, or to help gently direct them on how to get the food on their utensil and into their mouth. They may need help with the sequencing of events, or they may have side neglect from stroke, and fail to see the food on one side of their plate.

Eating Aids

Some mealtime problems may be due more to physical issues than mindset issues. Does your loved one have arthritis, a weak grasp, or other hand limitations? Special utensils can help. For example, a built-up-handle fork is perfect for people with upper extremity weakness or reduced range-of-motion. This type of fork features a built-up handle with a contoured shape. That makes it easier to hold and use.

Maybe your loved one gets frustrated at chasing food off the edge of their plate. The Inner Lip Plate is designed as an aid in self-feeding. The inner lip holds the food on the plate, while they bring their fork or spoon to the edge of the plate. It’s perfect for use at home because it blends in with regular tableware. Plus, it’s dishwasher and microwave safe.

An aid like the Stress Less Drink Holder can reduce spills and frustration. Set it beside your loved one’s favorite comfy chair or couch, bedside, desk, or even dining room table. The Stress Less can accommodate a variety of beverage containers from mugs, coffee cups, glasses & tumblers. It has a built-in Coaster and a Handy Holder for personal items like tea, sugar packets, a pen, magnifier, even their glasses, or whatever they wish to place in the handy slots. And the coaster rim helps contain any unintentional drips or spills.

 

Check out all of our eating helpers and utensils here.

Shower Chairs: Should I Get One?

Admitting you need a little help in the bathroom can be difficult. It’s one thing to talk about installing a few grab rails. It’s another to start thinking about using a special chair for toileting and showering. However, a shower chair may be your safest option for transferring and bathing. And there are lots of reasons why you may benefit from one.

Why should you use a shower chair?

Shower chairs (especially those that roll from toilet to shower) are sometimes seen as something that only wheelchair users need. While they are a vital part of many wheelchair user’s supply of adaptive equipment, you don’t have to have mobility limitations to need one.

Here are some other reasons you might want to use a shower chair:

  • You are recovering from surgery.
  • You have POTS or faint easily.
  • You have some limitations to your mobility.
  • You like sitting down while showering.
  • You are a fall risk from medications.
  • You have difficulty balancing.

The list could go on. But what it boils down to is your comfort and safety. If you feel more stable and comfortable in the shower when using a chair, then don’t put limitations on why you could justify getting one.

What kind of shower chair should you buy?

There are all kinds of shower chairs, and they have a wide range in function and price. You can find anything from a simple bench to a waterproof wheelchair.

Bench options are usually the most basic, and also the most economical. They function simply as a seat. Typically they are made of plastic and have holes for water drainage. Benches are usually lightweight, easy to move, and cost around $40.

A step up from a bench is a chair (or a bench with a back). These pieces of equipment are very similar to simple benches, but have extra features. Usually, a chair will have a back, some kind of handles or armrests to help you transfer, and they are a bit more sturdy. Depending on how many extra features they have, they can range from right above the $40 mark to a few hundred dollars. And the terminology used for what you might consider a “chair,” and “benches with backs” seems to be interchangeable- so make sure you search for both.

The most supportive option is a shower wheelchair. These chairs can usually roll from toilet to shower, and they have an opening in the bottom. Most of them also have to be propelled by an attendant, but it is possible to find a few that have wheels you can self-propel.

The Combi Shower Chair

ILA carries the mobile Combi commode/shower chair. It is one of the wheelchair-type shower chairs. The Combi allows the user to sit down safely and comfortably during toileting or showering. It has toilet rails and can be used either freestanding, with an optional bucket, or it can be positioned over a toilet. The best part is how easy it is to move and maneuver in different settings. And the stainless steel materials are easy to clean.

 

The Combi is on sale this week. But if it doesn’t fit what you are looking for, you can check out the full range of our bathing and bath accessories here!

 

 

Winter Safety for Seniors

Depending on where you live, winter can come with harsh temperatures and environmental conditions. Even in milder climates, the changes that do occur can be just enough to cause difficulties for seniors.

You might think that the cold weather is the biggest challenge. But other difficulties come with winter that you should be just as aware of.

Injuries and Accidents

Most wintertime injuries come from slipping and falling on icy surfaces. Older people often have trouble with balance and reaction time, making it more likely that they will have an accident. And minor accidents can cause major trouble for seniors. They can take longer to heal and may get more complications from fractures and breaks.

To avoid slipping, practice good fall prevention techniques. Wear shoes that have non-slip soles. These types of shoes aren’t slick on the bottom. They provide good traction. Also, think of the bottom of your cane or walker as you would your shoes. If the tips are worn out and slick, they are likely to slip as well. Go ahead and replace them with new tips that grip.

Once inside the house, be aware of wet spots by the door. If snow and ice come in on your shoes, it can melt and make puddles of water. Take off your outdoor shoes as soon as you come in. Then place them away from the door, or on a mat that will absorb the water from the melting snow.

Avoid driving on ice. If the conditions are bad, find someone else to drive you, or use public transportation. If the roads seem okay during the day, you still might want to stay off of them at night or in the early morning. Lower temperatures overnight can cause water to freeze on the roads during those hours.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is more of a threat to seniors than it is to the general population. According to a CDC report, most hypothermia-related deaths happen to people over 65 years old. Other contributing factors are conditions that are also often found in the senior population:

  • Dehydration contributes to hypothermia.
  • Lower metabolic rate makes it difficult to maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Perception of cold may be altered in older people.
  • Hypothyroidism and diabetes can contribute to hypothermia risk.
  • Medications can suppress vasoconstriction and the shivering response.
  • Decision making may be affected by medical conditions.

Hypothermia can be prevented by dressing warmly and setting the inside temperature to no lower than 68. It may be tempting to try to save on your electric bill, but mild hypothermia can happen at temperatures as high as 65 degrees.

When going outside, make sure to bundle up with layers. Coats, hats, gloves, and scarves should be worn, even if you think you are only going to be outside for a little while.

Nutrition and Exercise

Cold weather limits how much you can go outdoors. And staying inside often limits the variety of food and exercise you get. When staying in, it’s easy to feel lethargic and resist doing intentional exercise or planning meals. But sitting around watching TV under a blanket all day is not good for your health.

Make time every day to do some indoor exercise. Only 15 minutes a day will make a difference. Find some free videos on the internet and follow along with their program. Or use pedaling machines and free weights to create your own routine.

Eat as wide a variety of foods as you can. Commit to making meals from scratch a certain number of nights a week. Make a weekly grocery store trip. Eating the same old frozen or canned meals day after day can contribute to nutritional deficits. Continue to incorporate as many fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals as possible. You may also want to ask your doctor to test your vitamin D levels to see if you need to add a supplement to your routine.

Take care of yourself in the winter so that you will be in tip-top shape for enjoying the nice weather when spring comes again!

 

Need help keeping your temperature regulated? Our talking programmable thermostat will help you maintain an appropriate temperature all day long.

Valentine’s Day Ideas for the Visually Impaired

Most Valentine’s Day celebrations seem to center around getting the right card. Whether it’s for a class full of children, or a significant other, we put a lot of thought into choosing just the right piece of paper.

But if the object of your affection is visually impaired or blind, a plain paper card from the store might not be all that exciting. The real fun of Valentine’s Day might be found in some other ways of celebrating.

Sensory Gifts

Gifts are always fun. And, fortunately, two of the most common Valentine’s Day gifts make great sensory opportunities. Both candy and flowers present a variety of options to choose from. When choosing for someone who is visually impaired think more about the smell, feel, or taste of the item than about the visual presentation.

That said, for some people, bright red wrappers might be a fun visual cue. Crinkly cellophane or extra layers of wrapping might also add to the unwrapping experience. Just don’t sacrifice the taste or quality of the item just for a holiday-themed wrapper. And take a sniff of those flowers. A good scent might be preferable to a colorful arrangement.

Alternatives to Cards

You’ll probably still want a card to go with your gift. But what are some better options than the standard plain card?

If you prefer to go paperless, you can find or make eCards that are large print, high contrast, and appropriately formatted for screenreaders. The American Foundation for the Blind has a Helen Keller card collection that can be customized with any message. Of course, you could always just design something on your own. Just remember that if you add images to your card, you’ll need to fill out their description field if you want them to be picked up by screenreaders.

If you’d rather stick to the traditional route, make your own card with contrasting colors and tactile elements. Using puffy paint to create raised letters, or adding ribbon, sequins, or foam shapes all add to the card experience.

Valentine’s Adaptive Gifts

It may not seem like it’s possible to turn a practical, adaptive gift into something appropriate for the holiday of love. But ILA actually has several items that make great Valentine’s Day presents.

Combine the practical and the sentimental! Our pendant magnifier comes in a pink heart frame. This 4X pendant magnifier is surrounded by a pink heart-shaped frame- perfect for Valentine’s Day! The magnifier measures a little over an inch across, and the chain is 28 inches.

The Sonic Boom Sweetheart Alarm Clock is a really fun gift. This hot pink heart with multi-colored display will brighten up any bedroom. The Sonic Boom Sweetheart Alarm has been designed especially for young ladies of all ages who are hard of hearing, or just hard of waking. It comes with an extra loud, adjustable alarm as well as a bed shaker.

Does your significant other love pockets? We have a red leather wallet that might fit the bill. This soft leather wallet has a lot of pockets to help organize all your stuff! Its easily accessible compartments include: 3 separate coin pockets, 1 zippered and three regular pockets for bills, 10 spaces for credit cards, a driver’s license, checkbooks, etc. And the Velcro closures are safe and easy to open. Measures 8″ X 3 3/4″

An item doesn’t have to be red or heart-shaped to make a thoughtful present. And you don’t have to only show your love on Valentine’s Day. For more great gift ideas, Check out all of our VISION items.

 

 

 

 

What You Need to Know About Low Vision

“Not all forms of vision impairment come with a guide dog and a white stick.”

This quote, by Sarah Coats, was featured in The Mighty article, “23 Truths Blind and Visually Impaired People Wish Others Understood.” There is a lot of misinformation about low vision. February is the month designated to promote awareness about what low vision is, and make people aware of the benefits of vision rehabilitation.

Vision Rehabilitation

The term “vision rehabilitation” may cause some confusion. We usually think of rehabilitation as a process where you work from being sick or injured to not having those difficulties anymore. And when we’re talking about vision loss, it may seem that in many cases rehabilitation isn’t possible. Once your vision is gone, it’s gone.

But vision rehabilitation has a much broader meaning. While it can include medications or surgical procedures, it also includes adaptation. The focus of vision rehabilitation is for people to maintain their current lifestyle, no matter what new devices or skills are needed.

Vision rehabilitation is usually done by a team of professionals. Often there is an optometrist or ophthalmologist who specializes in low vision. They may be supported by occupational therapists, mobility specialists, low vision therapists, counselors, and social workers.

The focus of the program is usually on how to use devices, such as magnifiers, or other adaptive equipment, how to go through your activities of daily living safely and independently, and how to modify your home to make it more accessible.

Who Has Low Vision?

Just because someone has low vision does not mean they are completely blind. Many people with low vision can see light, shapes, and colors to varying degrees. Sometimes just having better lighting, more contrast, or larger letters can help someone with low vision be able to read or manipulate an item.

There are many causes of low vision. One of the most common health conditions that causes low vision is age-related macular degeneration. Cataracts, diabetes, and glaucoma also damage your eyes. These are conditions that are typically found in older adults. But birth defects and eye injuries can cause low vision at any time of life. That said, low vision is most common in people over the age of 65.

Signs of Vision Loss

Because vision loss can come on gradually, sometimes it’s hard to catch the early signs and symptoms. And if you wear contacts or glasses, you may just think your prescription needs to be updated.

But because lost vision can often not be restored, it’s important to go in for a check-up if you see any symptoms of possible eye disease. Some of the signs include:

  • Being more hesitant to get outside the house or around the neighborhood
  • Having trouble recognizing faces
  • Not being able to see well enough to sew or do small crafts or tasks
  • Having trouble seeing the difference between color shades

If you have signs of vision loss, the sooner you go to see the doctor, the more likely it is that you will be able to retain some of your vision.

ILA has many products that help with vision rehabilitation and independence around the home. Check out our VISION page to see all the categories.

Do You Know The Difference Between Full Spectrum and “Daylight Bulbs”?

You may notice that we talk about natural light, or “full-spectrum” bulbs, in a lot of our lamp descriptions. But you may wonder what exactly that means, or how this type of light is different from other bulbs. You may even have heard of something called a “daylight bulbs,” which seems to imply that it also acts as a more natural light source as well.

However, full spectrum bulbs and daylight bulbs are two different types of light sources. And they are not equally effective when it comes to helping you see things more clearly.

Daylight Bulbs

Bulbs are partially categorized by their color temperature. This is not a literal temperature. (Cool lights are not necessarily any more cool to the touch than warm lights.) Color temperature has to do with what side of the color spectrum the light falls on.

Warm lights give off a yellowish light, and cool lights give off a more white-colored light. (Due to it containing the blue light spectrum.) The sun naturally gives off a lot of blue light, so bulbs that lean towards to “cool” light range tend to get labeled “daylight” bulbs. This makes sense when we are comparing warm bulbs to cool bulbs.

However, sunlight doesn’t only contain blue spectrum light; it also contains a lot of red as well. Daylight bulbs don’t give off a lot of the other colors on the spectrum, so they aren’t true representations of sunlight.

This gets confusing when you think about how people are told to take things outside to see colors more accurately. They may think that a daylight bulb would give the same visual acuity as the sun. But that’s not true. The factor that affects acuity is the Color Rendering Index (CRI).

Full Spectrum Bulbs

The bulbs that we label as “natural light” light bulbs on our product pages are actually full spectrum bulbs. Full spectrum bulbs give off both visible and invisible wavelengths of light. Full spectrum lights usually offer a color temperature of 6500K and a CRI of 96%- giving you a brighter, whiter light that also displays colors accurately.

If you have a visual impairment, it is helpful to have light that includes all of the color spectrum. Not only does it help with color identification, but also contrast. This can put less strain on your eyes while reading or doing hobbies or crafts.

A good example of one of our natural light lamps is the Daylight Naturalight Hobby Table Lamp. Whether you are putting together a puzzle or studying for your homework, the Daylight Naturalight Hobby Table Lamp is the perfect choice. It’s great for reading and task work. It has a powerful 27w Full Spectrum Naturalight tube that will light up large surfaces and give you the best color rendering ever. And the flexible neck allows you to direct the light to exactly where you need it.

Some people even speculate that full spectrum bulbs can help combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Special lighting isn’t approved by the FDA as a treatment, but some doctors, including those at the Mayo Clinic, do recommend it as a complementary therapy to depression medications. Of course, you should never try something without speaking to your doctor first. This is just to say full spectrum bulbs are more likely to boost your mood than regular bulbs.

ILA carries high-quality lighting options. Check out our full range of task lighting here.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Is watching the “Big Game” with your friends a February tradition? It’s not difficult to make sure your party is accessible for everyone. With the addition of a few pieces of adaptive equipment, you can enhance the experience for anyone who has low vision or is hearing impaired.

Where’s The Remote?

If that question sounds familiar, you might want to check out our supply of chunky, large-button remotes. Not only are they harder to lose and easier to operate, but they also make working the TV much simpler for someone who has low vision.

Our TV Partner remote is probably the biggest one available on the market. The unit measures 5.5″ wide x 8.5″ long x 2.5″ high and yet weighs only 12 ounces. The keys are a large .75 inches tall with large, black numbers. And the remote is shaped like a capital “I.” It’s almost impossible to lose this remote. And it won’t slip in between the couch cushions.

The CAN-DO remote is a great option- especially for people who need to feel their buttons for identification. The number-shaped buttons are large and raised, making it easy to see, feel, and push them. And then there’s the standard up and down arrows for both volume and channel. The whole thing is easy to navigate by touch alone.

Or, if you are just tired of searching through tiny buttons on your complicated remote, you can use the Big Button TV Universal remote. It’s ideal for both visually impaired and digitally challenged people. The buttons measure .62 inches each. And it has a lighted keypad.

The Screen Is Too Small!

We can’t all have movie-theater style entertainment systems in our house, but when you’re watching football on a small TV monitor, it can be difficult to tell what’s going on in the game. So how can you get some magnification?

Binoculars can be a good option, even for indoor viewing. Not all binoculars have the right range of magnification. But our 2.5X Sports Spectacles are perfect for TV, movies, or the theater. When you use these sports spectacles, each lens can be individually focused to see the TV. Other features include pupillary and nose bridge adjustments, as well as a protective case. (Which is very important when hosting a party where people are sitting on every available surface.)

Turn It Up!

It can be difficult to hear the game over the noise of people talking. But it is especially difficult to understand what is being said if you have any type of hearing loss. Just turning up the volume doesn’t always solve this problem.

One option for your visitors who are hearing impaired is using a set of their own personal headphones. This not only amplifies sound, but it helps block out background noise that can make the sound more muddled. Our Amplified Bluetooth Digital Headphones have padded ear muffs that can be worn over hearing aids with no interference. And they work up to 32 feet away from the audio device- so it’s easy to get up and grab a snack.

But what if everyone would like a little boost in sound? Or you want to listen to the game while eating or socializing in a different room? That’s just what the TV SoundBox allows you to do! It is designed with a convenient handle for carrying it from place to place. The volume control works independently from your TV speaker, which means you can turn the SoundBox up or down without it changing the volume of your TV.

 

No matter how you decide to party, check out our page for products that can make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

 

Braille Literacy Month: How Can You Spread Awareness?

It’s Braille Literacy Month, and there are lots of things you can do to help spread awareness. We have some suggestions for ways to get the word out to your community, your local classroom, and on social media.

Community

Within your community, there are a variety of places and opportunities to create awareness events. The local library is one of the best partners because they often participate in library loan programs that help acquire braille materials for local residents.

You can ask the library about making a display of braille literature that can stay up for the month of January. Or, if you want to come in and run an event, you could set a time to talk about the history and usage of braille. Making the conversation kid-focused and including materials for a “show and tell” type of presentation would encourage families to come.

Places of worship are also usually open to special speakers. If they don’t already provide their worship materials in braille, you could talk to them about taking up a specific donation to order braille literature or songbooks. You could also give them information on braille transcription services.

Classroom

Much like the library, schools often enjoy having speakers. Elementary schools are a good place to go because young children love special presentations and are usually enthusiastic about any items you might bring to pass around or demonstrate.

You should call the school ahead of time to see what might work for them. If your visit is approved, you could ask about sending educational materials in advance, so that the students will be prepared.

You could even ask if the classes want to make braille billboard or door displays before your visit. And if you turn it into a contest, that will up the children’s interest by engaging their competitive spirit.

If any of the students read braille, you could invite them to do something as part of the overall presentation. They might enjoy the opportunity to share about braille with their peers.

Social Media

Sharing about Braille Literacy Month on social media is one of the easiest things you can do. And it’s something your friends and family can join in on. One strategy you could use to engage people in a conversation about braille is to make a braille “fact” post each day. A little research might be involved, but you can probably come up with enough small bits of information to cover the whole month.

Another way to do this is to ask questions rather than just post facts. Hopefully, people will respond to your questions, and you will spark some good conversation about braille usage. If you want some graphics to go with those posts, you can search “braille literacy month social media graphics” to find images on Pinterest. Just make sure they are shareable before you use them! Another good shareable piece of information is this post, by Paths to Literacy. It has resources for everyone.

ILA has all kinds of braille products, from jewelry to work supplies. In honor of Braille Literacy Month, our Dot Watch, Perkins Smart Brailler, and Green Slate are all on sale.