Guest Author - Dean Ingalls
The task of buying an appropriate gift for a visually impaired individual requires some thought. In this article, I composed a list of suggested ideals containing items that would make great gifts for visually impaired individuals of all ages.
Special note: Remember a visually impaired person also enjoys many of the same items as sighted individuals such as gift cards to favorite restaurants, clothes, sunglasses, jewelry, music CD’s, movie DVD’s and books on tape.
1. Cash Cow (twenty-four to twenty-six dollars), a talking penny bank that helps a visually impaired child learn the difference in the size and value of coins. The Cash Cow has a slot that matches the size of the different coins and when a coin is dropped into the slot the name of the coin is spoken.
2. Freeze-up talking memory sharpening game (twenty-seven to twenty-nine dollars appropriate for ages six and up, an eight-player game) that requires a player to think of names of items according to a category that starts with a letter in the alphabet. An example, each player starts with sixty seconds and must name one item in a category starting with a letter of the alphabet. The last player to use the sixty seconds is the winner. The game comes with 170 categories.
1. Scrabble (tactile overlays) – eight to ten dollars
Braille letters on clear labeling tape that sticks to the letter tiles used on the standard Scrabble playing board. The clear labeling tape allows the letter on the standard Scrabble tiles to remain visible allowing sighted players to view the letters as well.
2. Po-Ke-No board game (up to 12 players ages 6 and up, five to eight dollars), the game includes 12 game cards, 200 game chips, Po-Ke-No note cards and rules for playing five variations of the game.
3. Chess and checker board games adapted for accessibility by the visually impaired are available. The regular checker board game can be adapted for use by the visually impaired with some Velcro and Braille labeling.
1. The Game Book (35 to 38 dollars) contains eight games on one disc and comes in three designs (Aurora (first edition), Borealis (second edition) and Boomer (third edition). Each edition introduces new games with varying levels of difficulty. The eight games are compatible with any screen reader program and accessible for the blind. The games are mind-challenging mysteries that do not require a complex set of directions.
1. UNO cards (fourteen to sixteen dollars) adjusted to make the game accessible to the visually impaired. The cards have markings of primary Braille letters embossed on the cards. The Braille markings identify the card’s face value (number appearing on the card) and the letter identifying the color of the card. An example ; the UNO card containing the blue color with the face value of five would have the Braille letters embossed that represent the letter “B” and the number five. Specialized cards such as “draw two” would have the Braille letter representing the letter “D” and the number two.
**Other types of card games adapted to make the game accessible to the visually impaired include; “Old Maid (seven to nine dollars)”, “Crazy eight (seven to nine dollars)” and “Go Fish (seven to nine dollars).” Any deck of cards can become accessible to the visually impaired by simply embossing(brailing) the Braille letters on each card allowing blind individuals to play card games such as Rummy, Hearts and Battle with only a few adjustments of the playing rules.
1. Musical Instruments Sound Peg Puzzle (thirteen to fifteen dollars and appropriate for ages two and up) contains eight pieces shaped like a musical instrument. When a player correctly places a musical peg instrument into the matching peg slot a musical sound from the instrument plays. The puzzle develops coordination, musical ability and listening skills.
** A variety of sound peg puzzles is available including zoo animals, vehicle sounds and talking pegs. The puzzle requires two “AA” batteries (not included).
2. Rubix Ball Puzzle with Braille (fifteen to twenty dollars), an adaptable Rubix Cube for the visually impaired. The Rubix Ball works very much like the Rubix Cube with the exception of Braille letters and the cube is in the shape of a ball. Braille letters mark the colors and allow a visually impaired individual to follow a pattern to solve the puzzle. The puzzle has six color sections that are movable in different directions marked with Braille letters identifying the color and a number added to help with solving and matching the sections. The Rubix Ball with Braille is a great travel gift.
I have not used all of the items in the above list and have not received any compensation for writing this article. The above items are only suggestions that as a blind individual, I believe would make a great gift for a visually impaired person.