Five Websites That Teach Kids about Vision Impairments
Authors: Veronica Lewis, Writer/blogger at Veronica with Four Eyes
Keywords: blind, visual impairment, braille, low vision
As more and more students are diagnosed with vision impairments, kids naturally become curious about what vision impairments are and how people live with them (read more about how I answer questions children ask about my low vision here: https://veroniiiica.com/2017/08/28/answering-strangers-questions-children-edition/). Luckily, there are many kid-friendly resources online that teach about Braille, blindness, low vision, and more. In honor of National Braille month, here are five websites that teach kids about vision impairments, including blindness and low vision. These websites are targeted at sighted kids but are also great for curious kids with vision impairment.
- You’ve Got Braille
You’ve Got Braille is a resource on PBS Kids that teaches young children about Braille using characters from the show Arthur. A character named Marina has a page where she talks about life with blindness and educates readers on basic adaptations such as listening to books (read more about listening to books on Amazon Alexa here), reading large print (read more about Bookshare, an accessible library here), and using screen readers. There’s also a Braille translator. I love that this website is inclusive of low vision and has current information too. Check out the website for You’ve Got Braille here (http://pbskids.org/arthur/print/braille/).
- Braille Bug
Braille Bug is an interactive resource created by the American Foundation for the Blind. On the website, kids learn about color contrast (read my post on colored backgrounds here), Louis Braille, Helen Keller, different types of Braille including music (read more about how to make music accessible for low vision here), and also has games and activities. I had a lot of fun exploring the website, especially the Louis Braille virtual museum. Check out the website for Braille Bug here (http://braillebug.afb.org/).
- SeeNow Vision Simulator
SeeNow Vision Simulator was developed to teach people about navigating with a vision impairment by seeing what locations look like through the eyes of someone with uncorrectable vision loss. I used it to explain to someone why I find it difficult to navigate an area near my college and show them how it looked to me- read more about navigating college campuses here. There is also an app available, but I have not tested it. Check out the website for SeeNow Vision Simulator here (https://simulator.seenow.org/).
- Kids Quest: Vision Impairment
Kids Quest: Vision Impairment is a resource developed by the Center for Disease Control. The website challenges assumptions kids may have about vision impairment and teaches them about assistive technology (read five myths about assistive technology here) as well as encourages them to research information on outside websites. There’s even a section on famous people with vision loss- read my post on Buddy Holly and how he helped make glasses cool here. This website can answer most questions someone could have about vision loss. I recommend it for older kids, age 10 and above. Check out the website for Kids Quest: Vision Impairment here (https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/kids/vision.html).
While this website isn’t technically directed at kids, WonderBaby is a website curated by Perkins School for the Blind about raising children that have vision impairments and multiple disabilities. There’s a lot of great projects, information and tips featured, and my mom has said she wished this website existed when I was younger because it would have been really useful. Check out the website for WonderBaby at (http://www.wonderbaby.org/).
By encouraging kids to learn more about living with vision impairment, inclusive and accessible spaces can be created and flourish. After all, kids with blindness and low vision aren’t much different than other kids, which I mention in my myths about IEP students post here (https://veroniiiica.com/2017/10/30/seven-myths-about-iep-students/) – they just see things a little differently.