BOSTON — Now available for iPad, Exploring Braille was developed by the mother of a 9-year old girl who was born blind. It is the first app designed specifically for teaching visually impaired children, but is also fully functioning for sighted and low vision users that want to learn the Braille alphabet as well.
The app was developed by Hillary Welch Klek, 2002 BHS grad, to give blind children the opportunity to learn and play on popular tablet devices like their sighted peers.
The Exploring Braille App was created to introduce young children with visual impairments to the Braille alphabet through a fun interactive, multi-sensory approach. Using sound and touch, children will love following along with Madilyn, an enthusiastic little girl who is blind, and her sidekick Ruff, a fun-loving pup, as they learn the alphabet together.
Sighted users — including parents and teachers — can follow along on screen with high-quality graphics and visual representations of the Braille and print alphabet. This app presents two instructional methods for teaching all 26 letters and two quiz modes for assessing the child’s reading and writing skills.
Kids will love the consistency in repetition, sound effects, and characters as they become engaged in learning and play. Children will learn letter names, Braille dot configurations, to read and write the Braille character.
Users with low/all vision will also learn the print alphabet by sight. The multi-sensory Braille/print approach also allows users of all sight levels to learn together, providing opportunities for socialization through learning. Parents and teachers can instruct and follow along without having any prior knowledge of Braille without being overwhelmed or intimidated by Braille.
Exploring Braille may be downloaded for $3.99 from the Apple AppStore and is available world-wide. Other apps are currently under development including topics for advanced Braille skills, numbers, and math.
In a time when only 10 percent of blind children are taught to read and write Braille, this app aims to improve the literacy rate among children with visual impairments, promoting independence and higher achievements in education. The iTunes preview link is http://bit.ly/ExpBrailleKids
Visit www.sensorysun.org for more Exploring Braille information; visit the @SensorySun Twitter and Facebook pages for FAQs, pictures, and video demos.
Kleck has a degree in electrical engineering and serves as a national advocate for blind children through multiple nonprofit organizations.