One of the world’s favorite toy brands, LEGO, is dedicated to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. The company remains popular because they have built their messaging around being thought provoking and mind building, rather than just a toy for entertainment purposes.
Last month at the Sustainable Brands Conference in Paris, France The LEGO Group and The LEGO Foundation unveiled an extraordinary project set to release in 2020, LEGO Braille Bricks. The collaboration seeks to re-define play and re-imagine learning by releasing custom bricks intended to help visually impaired children learn to read Braille.
The idea of LEGO Braille Bricks was first proposed back in 2011 by the Danish Association of the Blind and later again in 2017 by the Brazilian-based Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind. Motivated by the ideas and stories from individuals around the world, LEGO worked to further shape the innovation in close collaboration with blind associations from Denmark, Brazil, UK, and Norway.
According to the National Federation of the Blind, with the emergence of audio texts, voice-recognition software and other technology as a substitute for Braille leaves, only 10 percent of blind children are learning how to read Braille. This is in stark contrast to the 1950s, when more than half the nation’s blind children were learning Braille.
The final set will be comprised of approximately 250 bricks, covering the enter Braille alphabet, numbers from zero to nine, and math symbols. Each set will also contain inspiration for teaching and interactive games.
While every child has dreams, aspirations, and a desire to explore the world and socialize through play, children with disabilities often face difficulties in the school system from lack of resources and are left excluded from activities. The LEGO Foundation believes kids learn best through play, where they develop skills such as creativity, collaboration, and communication. Creating an inclusive, playful approach to learning Braille is a worldwide step in the right direction.
For individuals with both autism and visual impairments, LEGO Braille Bricks can be a great resource to empower children to become creative, engaged, and lifelong learners. For teachers, parents, and sighted children, these bricks feature a printed letter or character for everyone’s enjoyment.