empowering the visually impaired by promoting reading habits and

**Dr. Beula Christy
*Associate Professor in Library Science(Retd), Kasturba Gandhi Degree and
PG College for Women, Marredpally: Secunderabad
**Head and consultant, Dr.P.R.K.Prasad Centre for Rehabilitation of Blind
and Visually Impaired, L.V.Prasad Eye Institute.
• Reading is a gateway to knowledge and wisdom
• Reading helps the individual to understand the society and his
role as a citizen, worker and individual within his own personal
sphere of activity
• Reading is a tool for the acquisitive
mind and it is the vehicle for
obtaining ideas that cannot be
transmitted verbally
• Visual stimulus presented to the brain help in the development of
motor, language and cognitive skills of an individual
• According to the current available world statistics, less than 10%
of the visually impaired know Braille
• It is crucial for us to introduce the skill of reading through the only
available medium of Braille at an early age
The Importance of Braille
in the Digital Age
• the literary Braille code has been called “the key to opportunity,
the means of emancipation, the greatest gift of the blind”
[Elridge, 1979]
• ‘as long as print is the primary literary medium of sighted people,
Braille will be the primary literary medium for blind people’
[Wittenstein, 1994]
• It is the most significant literacy medium for the visually impaired
and is an essential component of any educational program that
serves children who are blind.
L V Prasad Eye Institute, India
 L V Prasad Eye Institute is a Comprehensive eye health facility
with its main campus located in Hyderabad, India
 A WHO Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness
 The Institute offers
Comprehensive Patient Care and Research
Sight enhancement and Rehabilitation services
High-impact Rural Eye Health programs
Training for all levels of ophthalmic personnel
• The centre is an integral part of the LVPEI’s pyramid, the services
are delivered at all levels through its centre-based and
community based approach at different levels across LVPEI’s
• Since its inception in 1987, the centre has empowered more than
1,25,000 visually challenged through its centre and community
based approach
• It is estimated that about 30% of the visually impaired population
are children in India, of which only 4% of them are enrolled in
schools [NCERT2005] against the national gross enrollment
• The library provides books in digital MP3 and ‘Daisy’ form for all
those in need
Academic textbooks
Law book,
competitive exams
Banking books,
General Knowledge
Children stories
Degree books
Educational Guidance
Special Skills Training
Reader’s Service
Preparation of Teaching Materials
Scribe Service
Educational material in large print and Braille
Helpline for Educational Issues
Training in using Computer Assistive Software
Use of Optical, Non Optical and
Electronic Devices
• White Print
Educational Guidance
• Counseling and guidance is given to individuals with vision
loss on the following aspects based of their visual acuity,
economic background and family support
– school readiness
– information on choices of course
– information on choices of learning media[print, large print,
audio books etc
– suggestions in class room modifications
– recommendation letters to the schools and colleges for unique
requirement of the child
Special Skills Training
• Teaching pre Braille and Braille activities
• Training in use of mathematical devices such as
– Abacus
– Taylor frame
Reader’s Service
• Assistance is provided to teach the content on one basis,
usually for the students at high school and college level
• Readers are those volunteers who read the subjects and
explain the key content to the students
Preparation of Teaching Materials
• TLM’s are prepared to allow the blind child understand a
concept by exploring tactually
• Examples of TLM’s prepared are Maps with tactile raised
boundaries, a thicker boundary is used for the country
border and a thinner outline is used to differentiate state
• TLM’s are prepared to explain science experiments as well by
adapting tactile modifications
Scribe Service
• A sighted person is arranged to write exams on behalf of
the visually challenged
• Scriber is expected to read out the questions and write
the answers said by the blind
Educational material in large print and Braille
• The centre distributes story books and academic books in
Braille and large font for the visually challenged students as
and when required
• Over 500 story books in Grade I Braille are kept in the library
for circulation among children between 3-15 years of age
• Academic and leisure materials for school and college going
students are prepared in Grade II, Grade III Braille upon
request from the user
Helpline for Educational Issues
• Tele counseling and support is provided through ‘Rehab
• The caller’s query may relate to anything on visual
impairment and blindness such as
not getting admission in school
issues in availing any educational concessions
support for scribe facility
wanting to learn some skill, Braille etc
Training in using Computer Assistive Software
• Instructional training to work on computer using
specialized software that has screen readers and
magnifiers thus enhance academic achievement and
assist in acquiring meaningful employment
• Training is provided to use computers with assistive
software such as
– MAGIC 8.0
Use of Optical, Non Optical and Electronic Devices
• There are varying range of low vision devices that are
helpful for a child with low vision to use them in class.
• Telescope and special magnifiers will enlarge font on
print and on blackboard.
• The centre helps the visually challenged to learn to use
such devices to continue enjoy reading and writing like
their sighted peers.
Functions of FITTLE
• Learn the Braille Alphabet
• Construct words and learn more vocabulary
• Concept construction and utility value of object
• Orientation to direction
• Number concept
• Motor co-ordination concept
• Tactile stimulation
• Audio feedback improves learning skills
White Print
• The library subscribes to ‘White Print’, the first lifestyle
magazine in Braille in India
• In India, there are very few text books that are compatible with
• Concept construction and utility value of object
• Orientation to direction
• Number concept
• Motor co-ordination concept
Feedback from the Beneficiaries
• Digital Audio Library: The recorded audio books in different
languages with clear accent, recorded by volunteers has been a
great benefit in our education.
• Edited Books: The edited books are a great source in preparing for
academic exams and to attain good scores. It also helps them in
gaining professional acceptance and opportunities.
• Computer Skills: The training received at the center has made them
more skillful, independent and hopeful for the future.
• Scribe Services: The timely scribe services enabled the students to
write academic as well as competitive exams confidently and
helped them to achieve their goals.
• Helpline Service: A unique model that provides relevant [life saving
in some instances] and specific advice to users with visual
• In this rapidly growing era of digitization, content is being
increasingly converted into electronic data
• Though the benefits of access are huge the old age habit of
reading is fast disappearing even in the sighted
• It is highly important for us to preserve the habit of reading
more so in the visually impaired to help them read through
• Many more Libraries should come forward to render such
Thank You