Changing the way blind children can access pictures, books and reading - James' story - Living Paintings

Living Paintings

Changing the way blind children can access pictures, books and reading – James’ story

13th September 2021

Goodnight Spaceman boys in spaceship

James is a 12 year old boy who has a very rare genetic disorder called FOXG1. His foster mum kindly shares his story with us.

There are only around 600 people worldwide with FOXG1, 5 of whom are in Scotland. Having this very rare genetic disorder means that James has physical and learning disabilities including epilepsy, microcephalic, dystopia and CVI.

His foster mum tells their story and, shares their experience of Living Paintings.

A tactile picture of the Gruffalo

We were not disappointed!

“James lives at home with us and our extended family in rural Scotland. This includes two girls aged 6 and 3, two dogs and 8 chickens.

I saw a post about Living Paintings on a craft page we follow and really liked the idea of the raised pictures to help bring the book characters to life for James…. and we were not disappointed!

We have always read to James – he loves the close interaction and he touches the pages of books even if they are smooth. His eyes flit around trying to grab what he can from the colours on the page with what functional vision he has. James often plays alone as he doesn’t see what others not close to him are doing, so being able to share Living Paintings books with us, the other children and family members brings him into closer contact and reading together is so inclusive.”

Giraffes Can't Dance tactile

Sharing a story where differences don’t matter

“James often shares story time with both or either of the girls, which is a lovely way for them to share quality time together where age differences do not matter. His hands are all over the raised pictures which we spend time going over both before the story and during. Although James doesn’t read Braille he loves the wee raised dots overlay on each page – they seem to help him stay focused on that page and not try to turn the book over.

Four books is a great number for us to receive with each box of books, and James is able to choose which of the four he wants to read. Having the books for a length of time is great too as we can revisit them very often, and we have sometimes requested to keep them longer when there were some of extra interest to him.”

The World Around Us with Spot

Bringing stories to life

“James shares which story he has read about with his news switch each day at school and he can talk about information from the story. Living Paintings books have really changed the way that James can access story characters, and really bring those to life for him.

Thank you to everyone that has made that possible.”

Borrow James’ best-loved books to share

A mobile phone sitting on a wooden table top and wrapped in earphones displays the Living Paintings website.


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