Learning is good, even when you're on vacation. While back in Louisville Kentucky, we were able to visit the American Printing House for the Blind (which was right next door to the school for the blind). We were able to do a tour of their entire factory and got to learn a lot about what exactly they do. Like most people, when I hear 'printing house for the blind', I take it as face value. When in fact they produce all kinds of material not just for those who are blind. They also make a lot of things for people with low vision (people who have very little sight, or significant trouble seeing).
I was surprised to learn that there are so many other options for low vision/ blind people to use other than braille. For school aged children, sensory items are super important. They have boards with textural differences, they have a writing pad to help with recognizing letters both written and in braille. On maps, they have outlines of the states/countries, braille with the names of the states/countries/oceans, and the mountains have a raised texture that is completely different so that you can tell its a mountain range. They also have aids for more complicated things, like the periodic table:
They offer even more items as well. For those with low vision, they have items that are similar to an extreme magnifying glass that will not only make the text or picture of something a lot bigger, but it can enhance the contrast so that it's easier to see. We were able to tour the actual printing portion (but couldn't take any pictures) and saw the machines that actually imprint braille and textures onto paper. It was pretty amazing to see how much work goes into something like that. There are so many extra steps to printing something with texture.
After touring the printing house, we got to visit the museum. It was pretty cool, especially the entrance. When you first walk in, you're faced with copies of ancient texts, which use hieroglyphs as their written means of communication. Of course they have Egyptian glyphs, but they also had ancient Mayan glyphs. And I love learning/hearing/ seeing anything about the ancient Mayans.
They had a lot of displays showing the machines that were and are used for printing braille.
They also had a really cool display shoeing the largest collection of braille material produced. These are encyclopedias. All of them are printed in braille. And I thought regular encyclopedias were huge...man oh man these books were gigantic!
It was nice to learn some new things, and although I wear glasses, I am definitely appreciative of the sight I do have!
Nerdy love to ya!
Evon is a lifestyle blogger based in Texas. She has a passion for nerd culture, food and movies. To find out more about Evon, and this blog, take a look at the About Me page!