Reading is one of life’s great pleasures. There are so many benefits introducing books to children at a young age. However, for children who are vision impaired or blind, it can be difficult finding books which they can truly appreciate and enjoy.
VisAbility recently secured a Telethon Grant from the Channel 7 Telethon Trust to create Sensory Story Kits. These will be distributed in public places such as libraries and centres for children with disabilities. The aim is to encourage youngsters with vision impairment to embrace the joy of stories.
Sensory story kits
These kits are being made possible by a team of volunteers, community service students and staff at VisAbility. They’ve spent many hours helping to create forty in total.
- an interactive tactile toy
- a large print book
- an audio copy of the book
- a copy in Braille
- activity cards.
Former nurse and volunteer Norma Reece, has been helping to create the soft toys. She’s been doing needlework, crocheting and knitting for more than 40 years. Dozens of reels of wool have been donated for the project as well as other materials.
One of her favourite characters is the ‘wonky donkey’ from the book of the same name.
“The wonky donkey has a missing left eye, so we’ve made an eye patch. It looks very authentic.” Another well-known character created by Norma was a knitted caterpillar from ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’. By turning the woolen caterpillar inside out, it transforms into a butterfly.
“It’s kind of magical, I’m sure the kids will love it,” she adds.
I wanted the donkey to be true to character so I came up with the idea of the bottom part of the leg coming off which can be detached and then re-attached with Velcro.Norma Reece
While Norma and her fellow volunteers have been busy with the craft side of the project, others such as Elwyn Edwards, have been recording the audio books.
“As a jobbing actor I’ve been in films and adverts, even an ABC crime series. Now semi-retired, I enjoy volunteering here and reading the books”, he says.
“Normally it’s adult books, but I’m enjoying reading the children’s books. You can get more animated and let your inner-child come out.”
The Sensory Stories project, made possible by a $40k grant from the Channel 7 Telethon Trust, will be completed by October.
We can accept referrals from parents, teachers and health professionals. Our therapists and professionals have specialist knowledge. They have broad skills in child development, disability and vision impairment.
How to get support
Please complete the form below to make an initial enquiry about the low vision services and support we can provide. Our Client Experience Team will contact you to discuss your individual needs both now and into the future.
There are a number of low vision support groups within Perth and across the state.
If you are a provider and wish to refer a client, please use our low vision medical certificate (online referral form) to make your referral.