It may be considered that blind or visually impaired children would be unable to appreciate or enjoy books; however, the Fund which provides those children with such books has seven very good reasons for doing just that.
First, our books are the bridge between a visually impaired child and his or her peers. They help partially sighted children to find self-confidence and develop important thinking skills: I am as worthwhile as anyone. If a partially sighted child has been reading a lot and is able to continue then he or she feels as knowledgeable as sighted children. Our attractive and interesting books are the common wealth both for visually impaired and for sighted children.
Second, our books are a window to the huge world. How otherwise would blind children learn about the appearance of animals and plants and how their favourite fairy-tale characters look? Only special books such as those published by our charity foundation can help to communicate this.
Third, our books are the friends that are there for the child at any time. Touch a page and you will understand what the cat’s fur or fish’s scales feels like, and how a thorny hedgehog feels on your skin! Is it difficult for you to discern the image line? Pass over it with your finger – it is easily distinguished by touch. Do you have difficulty seeing all modes of the image at once? Touch the images: they take their positions as far as distance changes, just like in reality. They are able to move. There is theatre and music in these books. Listen! Touch! Play!
Fourth, our books are the doctors that treat without tablets, but with the drawings and words. In fact, only a small number of visually impaired people are afflicted with total blindness. Partially sighted people have a residual vision that can be developed while encouraging the eyes to work better. This capability depends on the grade of intelligence of the child among other things. What could be more effective for psychogeny than reading?
Fifth, our books are a fire that sparks a cognitive interest and develops imagination in a child’s mind. “The most important things cannot be seen by the eyes” – Antuan de Sent-Exupery’s wise fox said. The books help the child to develop “heart vigilance” since the blindness of the heart is the most frightful kind of blindness as it cannot allow the owner to learn, to love or to feel.
Sixth, our books are toys. Movable details, playing elements and even a real theatre transform the reading into an absorbing activity for both visually impaired children and their sighted peers.
We hope and genuinely believe that in the near future all visually impaired children will have this wonderful gift – a book they can be friends with!