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Brick-a-Braille (pat. pend.) is a set of educational devices built with LEGO bricks, accompanied by an ad-hoc method, to teach the blind and vision-impaired kids spatiality, laterality and the Braille alphabet. The key idea is to make tangible the subdivision in decades of the Braille alphabet symbols and their intrinsic modular structure, facilitating the learning process even to preschool kids.
Usual teaching aids for the blind are often outdated and definitely not cool. Instead, using the LEGO material is appealing to everyone and a lot of fun for the kids! The colors of the elements improve integration of blind and visually-impaired people in the community of sighted people. This aspect is very important for kids.
This is a no profit project. We developed these devices and method to help blind and visually impaired kids all over the world to learn to read Braille by playing with LEGO bricks. All the described educational devices can be built using plain bricks so that everyone in the world will be able to build them and learn Braille in a revolutionary way.
Brick-a-Braille è un insieme di strumenti didattici realizzati con i classici mattoncini LEGO, accompagnati da un metodo didattico specifico, per insegnare ai bambini non vedenti o ipovedenti la spazialità, la lateralizzazione e l’alfabeto Braille. L’idea chiave è rendere tangibile la suddivisione in decadi dei simboli dell’alfabeto Braille e la loro struttura modulare, facilitando il processo di apprendimento anche per bambini in età prescolare.
Gli usuali sussidi didattici per i non vedenti sono spesso datati e poco invitanti. Invece, giocare con i mattoncini piace a tutti ed è divertentissimo per i bambini! Inoltre, i colori degli elementi favoriscono l’integrazione dei non vedenti o degli ipovedenti con gli altri bambini della classe.
Brick-a-Braille is the implementation of a revolutionary idea of Massimo Vita, a smart blind man. Besides being the President of the Association for Blind People in Siena (Italy), he is an AFOL. He builds incredible models just by feeling the LEGO parts with his fingers.
The method was developed by Valentina Morrone, a teacher which has a valuable experience with blind kids. The method is available for free download in PDF format.
How does it work?
All the symbols of Braille alphabet are composed by a 3×2 matrix of dots that can be embossed or not. These 64 symbols can be subdivided into series of ten symbols called decades. In most of these Braille symbols, the 6 points can be decomposed into a square subgroup of 2×2 points and a subgroup of the remaining 2 points.
The Braille symbols of this invention are built using modular elements that can be manipulated and assembled together. These modular elements have a different tactile pattern for each decade, that makes it easy for the blind to recognize the belonging of the symbol built with that element to a specific decade.
All these modular symbols can be orderly arranged on a 10-column board with sloping edges. To teach blind and visually-impaired kids the concept of space, left/right, top/bottom, the method uses an enlarged version of the Braille cell for preliminary exercises. Finally, once the kids have mastered the Braille alphabet using the modular symbols, they can start reading and writing by attaching cones on a board which is divided in 2×3 cells.
We are looking for teachers active in helping blind and vision-impaired kids that are willing to test and validate the teaching method. There might be the possibility to give away some kits with all the LEGO parts needed to build the Brick-a-Braille teaching devices. In this regards, we hope to have some good news soon. In the meantime, you can request the method in PDF format.