I can’t believe my thesis will be done in less than 2 weeks!
Why are blind children not taught braille at an early age? Why do they not take advantage of their local braille library?
After spending three months interviewing families with blind children, I have realized that braille is oftentimes not taught to young children because adults believe it is too hard of a language to learn. Some sighted parents feel that they would have to learn braille first before teaching it to their children. So what is stopping sighted parents from learning braille if it could help their child in the end?
The answer is not as easy as one would hope. Braille is challenging to learn, so parents tend to put it off. Braille is unique in that one must learn 189 letter contractions in addition to different alphabets for upper and lower case. However, there is a light at the end of the braille tunnel; the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.
In the redesign of my children’s space within the library, I hope to create a space for children and parents to learn braille while simultaneously engaging the children’s other senses. Currently the library has very few patrons and I intend to bring the Maryland State Library for the Blind into the foreground for being a valuable source for parents with blind children.
My thesis presentation will replicate the room that I create in the children’s area of Baltimore’s Braille library. Two walls will support my tactile braille and typography. The main wall will display 6-8 boxes to act as braille dioramas. Each box will contain one object, made by the 3D printer, with a description of the object in braille inside of the box. Each diorama will contain one small “sniffing” box that will release an odor of the object, furthering to activate the sense of smell. A chart containing the braille alphabet in addition to the 189 contraction characters will sit above the diorama boxes. Above all, my thesis presentation and library space will create an environment to engage the viewer’s senses.
Only 10% of blind people are able to read braille and my thesis presentation will teach children the importance of this language. In addition to braille, large vinyl letterforms on the smaller wall will address the needs of dyslexic and reading disabled children.
The children’s area of the library will provide an educational space encouraging children to read braille books, listen to books on tape, and feel comfortable in the library space. Through tactile furniture (Inna Alesina’s egg create ottomans), braille and 3D objects, children and parents will learn the importance of braille, which will ultimately lead to increased literacy for blind children.
Children’s areas in libraries tend to have the bare-bone necessities: children’s books, a few stuffed animals, and perhaps a soft surface where the children can lie down and read. The new children’s area would be a place for children to touch surfaces while learning to read braille through tactile design. The designated area would be designed as an educational tool to engage not only children, but adults as well. Library patrons would be able to see, hear, and touch as they move through the space. Through furniture and tactile surfaces, the space would be able to tell stories through braille.
The thesis is not going to focus on traditional typography, but instead will address the connection between braille and standard letterforms. Using touch as a communication tool and giving lower sighted people more access to the written word is an area of great interest to me.
My thesis will not focus on one individual human sense, but will rather engage all the senses at once (5d design). My thesis will not be a two-dimensional piece, but instead a multi-sensory space for children within the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. My thesis will not only engage blind to low-sighted persons, but also will also strive to include sighted people.
Children’s areas in libraries tend to have the bare-bone necessities: children’s books, a few stuffed animals, and perhaps a soft surface where the children can lie down and read. My space will instead be an area where children can touch surfaces while learning to read braille through tactile design. I am interested in using the space as an educational tool to engage not only children, but adults as well. I intend for library patrons to see, hear, and touch as they move through the space. Through furniture and tactile surfaces, the space with tell stories through braille.
My thesis will not focus on traditional typography, but instead address the connection between braille and standard letterforms. I am interested in using touch as a communication tool and give low-sighted people more access to the written word.