E-cards from the “Braille Bug” Children’s Web Site
The days of flimsy paper cards with cartoon animals are gone. The web-savvy kids of today are looking for something a little more hip and up-to-date. At the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) Braille Bug children’s web site, kids can take advantage of a unique feature to compose and send Braille e-mail cards to their friends and loved ones. At the same time they learn about Braille.
When visiting the Braille Bug web site (www.afb.org/braillebug), children can type in a message, or click directly on Braille icons to spell out a secret message or card, and have it translated immediately into Braille. The message is then displayed in Braille as the sender types in the e-mail address for delivery. Kids who receive the e-card can go to the Braille Bug to view it, get decoding help, and learn more about Braille. Although children can send Braille e-mail messages from the Braille Bug all year long, on Valentine’s Day this feature is especially popular.
“All kids are fascinated by Braille; they think it’s a secret code that’s fun to learn, “said Francis Mary D’Andrea, director of AFB’s National Literacy Center in Atlanta, GA. “Sending Braille greeting cards is an entertaining and educational activity that can only help foster a better understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities.”
Designed for children in grades three through six, the Braille Bug was launched last year to teach sighted children about Braille and to encourage literacy among children. It is the first interactive and educational website that is fully accessible to all kids—including those with disabilities. The “Braille Bug,” the site’s ladybug mascot with the six dots of the Braille cell on her back, welcomes visiting children and helps them to understand the “secret code” of Braille through a variety of online activities and games. USA Today, the National Education Association, and the American Library Association have honored the Braille Bug web site as an outstanding educational site for children.
The American Foundation for the Blind—the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life—is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired.#