Lego makes special bricks for blind children

28-08-2023

European Union

CNE.news

The special set of Lego bricks with Braille. Photo Lego Braille Bricks

Lego wants to help vision-impaired children learn to read Braille. Therefore, it starts producing special bricks.

The Lego sets will be available from September. They include 287 bricks with a pattern of studs that corresponds to the braille numbers and letters, the Guardian writes. The bricks are compatible with other Lego sets.

Since 2020, the Danish toy producer has provided the sets for free to special schools for vision-impaired children since 2020. However, now, the bricks will become available to the larger public as well. Lego's goal is that they will help parents and siblings share in learning braille. Furthermore, the sets come with ideas for educational games that families can play together.

Dave Williams, from the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), says that learning Braille with Lego makes the process more fun. In addition, the toy "breaks down barriers because everybody recognises it, and it does not feel weird."

Brain tumour

The seven-year-old Olivia is one of the children who plays with the special bricks. Her mom, Lisa Taylor, explains that the girl first encountered them at school. "They had such a big impact on her curiosity for Braille. Before that, she found it hard to get started with the symbols. But now she is improving all the time."

Olivia herself says to be happy, she can play with her sister. "I like writing, building and playing games", she tells BBC. Olivia lost her sight due to a brain tumour when she was 17 months old. Even her grandmother is learning Braille now, in addition to her mum, dad and sister. They even write notes to each other using the Lego bricks. And knowing Braille helps her parents to support Olivia in her school work more easily.

According to their mother, Taylor, the Lego bricks help Olivia to play and learn like every other child. "To have a set at home changes everything."

Creative

The Lego company explains that the set helps to make its product more inclusive. By making it available to the larger public, the company responds to "thousands of requests", Rasmus Løgstrup, the Lego Group lead designer on braille bricks, said to BBC. "We know this is a strong platform for social inclusion and can't wait to see families get creative and have fun playing with braille together."

The sets will be first available in English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland and the US. In addition, they can be bought in Belgium, Canada and Switzerland. Next year, they should be available in Italian, Germany and Spain as well.

Lego inventor was deeply Christian

Without belief in God, Lego would not have existed, a headline in the Dutch daily Nederlands Dagblad read recently. The creator of Lego, Ole Kirk Christiansen, was a devout Christian, the daily writes. Shortly after the death of his wife, Kirk Christiansen gets a vision. "I saw a large factory where people were busy, where raw materials arrived and complete products left. The image was so clear that I have not doubted ever since that I would reach my goal one day", he said. The Dane strongly believed that the vision came from "the God in Whom I learned to believe when I was a child."

However, the Second World War confuses his plans. Thanks to a loan, Kirk Christiansen is able to afford an office "in full consciousness that we cannot do it by ourselves", he would later write in a statement. And even though his finances are okay, Lego's founder realises that "we cannot do anything without Him." He also says that he prays to the Lord for Lego "so that He will help us in all respects to lead an honest company so that our deeds and our life will be lived to His honour and with His blessing."

Five years later, Lego achieves a breakthrough as Kirk Christiansen discovers plastic blocks that look like bricks. In 1949, the first Lego bricks were available in the store. Its founder is certain: "I prayed to God, and I believe in these bricks."

Chain

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