You are here:

Blind Kids and Technology

As technology continues to travel the tracks on its merry way, we find that more and more, blind kids are struggling to keep up when it comes to being able to enjoy the excitement and fun of modern technology.  With more and more toy manufacturers coming out with nifty ways for kids to learn to read, write, do math, and spell, blind and sight impaired kids need to be given ways to enjoy all of this as well.  Each time I hear those commercials on TV of kids having fun with various learning games, I ask myself how much of this is or can be available to blind and sight impaired kids.

True it is that some major strides have been made in making mainstream games, learning and otherwise, more available and accessible to blind and sight impaired kids but we need for more to be done.  Blind and sight impaired kids need to be able to access more mainstream technology.  They need to have greater access to mainstream learning games plus more.  In short, they need to have equal access to whatever game or learning tool is out there for the mainstream kid.

Some strides have been made in the area of ball games; a beeping baseball, a beeping puck, a beeping ball for lawn tennis, and look how goal ball has been developed for blind persons.  So all is not lost and hope reigns eternal.

So then; can I dream a bit and hope that blind kids of tomorrow will have a better opportunity to move a bit closer to the mainstream world of games and toys?  Can I dream that blind kids of tomorrow will have more at their disposal to choose from and that they will be able to enjoy that much more?  Can I dream then that technology will play a part in how their landscape of playtime will look?  Will they have a greater chance to participate in mainstream fun or will they continue to lag more than just a bit behind and will need substitute games and toys?

I am sure that as time goes on, more and more toys and games manufacturers will develop products that are more accessible.  Products that will benefit all kids.  Products that will help all kids.  This may not be a dream on my part; it may be much closer to becoming a reality than many would think.  Maybe it's time for us to start lobbying these companies to move in this direction.

I am going to leave you with some websites that you can check out to see what progress is being made and continues to be so:

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.

Comments

One of the games I'm interested in checking out in the future is Rock Vibe. It's based on games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Here is a Youtube video discussing it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvgIXEdAZpo

They were raising funds on Kickstarter and reached their goal of $16500 in February.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rupa211/rock-vibe-accessible-gaming

I enjoy playing Rock Band with friends, but I'm limited to being the singer, and I have to hum along to songs I don't know the words to. Rock Vibe sounds like it would be challenging and fun for both blind and sighted.

I think this is a complicated issue because I don't think it's just a matter of kids being able to play specially-designed games. Games for sighted kids are becoming so social that multiplayer support is included in virtually all games released these days. Classrooms and playgrounds are full of kids discussion games they both own and play at home. I've seen many games designed for people who are blind that have great sound elements but no visual elements whatsoever. It would be great if someone developed a game that could be played and enjoyed by kids who are both blind and sighted, although I'm not holding my breath! I have seen numerous accounts of legally and totally blind kids and teenagers playing mainstream games that have strong sound elements, though, so if menu systems were made accessible and games included enough sound cues and text-to-speech for in-game text, I think it would be possible. It would be an interesting experiment, that's for sure.