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Living Paintings

Tactile, audio and braille books make a difference to children in care

20th September 2018

The feedback we receive from library members means so much to Living Paintings, and this letter from Heather, a teacher working with visually impaired children, is no exception. Beyond that, it highlights how something as simple as a book can work wonders for the education and confidence of VI children, particularly those in difficult situations.

“I am a qualified teacher of the visually impaired and many of the families I support live in socially deprived areas. Three of the children are in care as looked after children and are particularly at risk of underachieving.

One little boy I support in care has very poor vision. He really found it difficult to concentrate on reading and at six years old he was in danger of becoming completely disengaged from literacy.

Then I heard of Living Paintings. I was immediately struck by the caring way they answered my query; they really wanted to know what interested Mark*. The foster mum felt that Mark loved fire engines and dinosaurs and within days Living Paintings had sent a beautiful selection of books about Mark`s favourite topics.

Tactile picture from Harry and a bucket full of dinosaurs

The colour really stood out from the tactile diagrams and they were so cheerful and fun to use. Mark was mesmerised and was able to share the beautiful books with his foster mother. Each time he turned the page his face lit up and for the first time he was able to understand the form of a fire engine – before it was all such a blur.

Little by little Mark`s ability to recognise letters improved as he realised that books were not something to be afraid of. He has achieved Level One in all his school subjects – something we thought was impossible two years ago. It was described as a miracle at a meeting we had about Mark recently!

I also see a little girl aged two who is totally blind and hasn’t even got light perception. Holly loves to listen so the CDs that come with the books meaning that she’s able to hear as well as feel the stories come alive. Holly’s sense of touch has been transformed – she is well on the way to begin a pre-braille programme all thanks to the tactile picture of Peppa Pig!

A hand-painted tactile picture of Peppa Pig with her arms outstretched.

Finally, I would like to introduce Amy*. Amy has profound and multiple learning difficulties, severe epilepsy and just a tiny amount of movement in one finger. Thanks to Living Paintings Amy is able to feel the surface of her favourite characters. At four years old she is able to enter a magical kingdom of imagination and enjoy the stories her brothers love.

Living Paintings gives visually impaired children the range of experiences to their favourite story characters as other children. Blindness means that children cannot understand what their favourite characters are like. Living Paintings gives children that opportunity and also at the same time gives their parents and carers a much needed break, as it can be exhausting and overwhelming constantly looking for ways to help your child develop.

Thank you Living Paintings for transforming the lives of the visually impaired children and families I support.”

*All names have been changed to protect the identities of the children.

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

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