3D teaches blind kids to read

By Drum Digital
10 July 2014

Paging through a storybook with your toddler before bedtime is one of the great joys of being a parent. But what if your child is blind? New 3D books are the answer.

Paging through a storybook with your toddler before bedtime is one of the great joys of being a parent.

But blind children can’t always enjoy this treat and even though they can learn to read Braille when they’re older, they often miss out on the fun of paging through an illustrated children’s book.

Besides which, illustrated books without words is an important step in teaching a child to read.

Fortunately researchers at the University of Colorado in America have come up with clever 3D technology that embosses the pages of illustrated children’s books with special textures so visually impaired children can “feel” the stories.

So for instance a child can feel the shape of a half-moon and the spots and horns of the cow jumping over the moon and use their imagination to add colour to the picture. Researchers say this was a logical step as visually impaired children often only learn Braille when they’re six, making it necessary to give them more exposure to tactile stimulation until they’re introduced to Braille. The 3D printers used to print the books are still prohibitively expensive but researchers hope the books will become more affordable as the idea catches on. For more info about these books click here.

- Mieke Vlok

SOURCES: Elite Daily, University of Colorado News, Daily Mail

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