An advocacy group for blind and visually-impaired children is holding a seminar this month designed to make it easier for friends and family to shop for those kids. Carrie Thomson, president of Iowa Parents of Blind Children, says the approach of the holiday season prompted the organizing of this first-ever workshop.
Thomson says: "You struggle so much trying to find games and toys and gifts for the blind child versus the sighted child. We thought this would be a good chance, with Christmas coming up, to really emphasize there are things you can do and there’s games that you can buy and adapt for the child."
Some specialty websites that sell games and toys just for the blind can be very expensive, so Thomson says people should consider converting old favorites instead. "For the younger aged kids, Candyland or Monopoly or Clue — we were playing Clue last night," Thomson says. "You can adapt all those games so the blind child is able to play, too. Go Fish, Uno, Old Maid, some of the traditional games you play as a family growing up, you can adapt those."
She says the seminar is designed for parents, grandparents, friends and teachers who are concerned about finding truly useful, fun toys and gifts that can be given to children who are blind. Thomson, who’s nine-year-old is blind, says it’s easy to take a card game like Uno and make it blind-friendly.
Thomson says: "One, you can buy Uno Braille cards, or you can just Braille the cards yourself if you have a Brailler at home or you could take it to the Department for the Blind and they can do it or they have Braille cards. Sometimes it’s just as easy as having a Brailler at your home or a labeler at your home and you can label the cards yourself." She says visually-impaired kids get as much fun out of toys as sighted children, as long as there is some texture, sound or activity involved.
The all-day seminar is scheduled for September 27th in West Des Moines. For more information, call Thomson at (515) 834-9003 or send e-mail to: [email protected] .