Can you tell I get a little excited about free stuff? There are so many resources out there for parents of blind/VI kids. But finding them...that's the hard part. There are so many things that I am just finding out about now and Thomas is almost two. Click on the links below to explore some of the amazing programs out there.
Seedlings Book Angel Program
Seedlings has a book angel program that gives blind/VI kids two free books that are in both print and braille. It is an excellent way to introduce your child to braille and start your braille library. They also include a catalog so you can get more of their low cost books.
National Braille Press ReadBooks is a children's braille literacy program. They send you a tote bag filled with braille items for you and your child. We got a tactile ball, a print/braille children's book, braille primer for parents, braille alphabet card, DVD, braille Caravan block and a coupon to return for another book or large print/braille playing cards.
American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
The American Action Fund has a Free Braille Books Program that sends children a free Braille book every month. They choose popular books you might find in your local bookstore. Teachers of the blind, schools, parents, and libraries serving blind children are all eligible to participate in this incredible program.
National Federation of the Blind
You can get a free white cane from the National Federation of the Blind. These canes are the key to independence for blind people. They allow the blind to navigate our world with safety and confidence.
The NFB also has a pre-literacy program for blind and low vision children from birth to seven called the Braille Reading Pals Club . You get a print/braille book, monthly newsletter for parents, braille birthday cards for the child, and an electronic reading log to track the time you spend reading with your child. We just signed up for this program.
The Braille Institute has a program called the Braille Special Collection that allows families to order up to 12 books a year from a large collection of titles for all reading levels. You can download their catalog on the link above.
Why is Braille important?
If you are not sure why Braille is important take a look at this article. "Listening to Braille" Yes, present technology like speech to text computer programs and the availability of books on tape are great. But that's not reading and that's not literacy. Would you ever consider letting your sighted child choose to not learn to read? Why learn to add when there are calculators, right? Eh, no.
While I consider all the technology a happy way to make living in a sighted world a little easier, they are not a replacement for reading.