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For June 2012:

How to make toys more accessible to blind kids.

Up until a few short years ago, it was quite difficult to find enough toys that were accessible to and for blind kids. Happily, this has been changing and it is all for the good. Toys and games are becoming more accessible and here are my thoughts on how one can make toys more accessible to blind youngsters. My suggestions may be more aimed at games but they could also be easily applied to other fun things as well.

To start with, it depends on the type of toy in question. If it is a game oriented toy, then it would only make sense to provide a blind child with audio or voice output options. So, if the toy is developed in a way where the child needs to choose from a menu on a screen in order to play with the toy, then these options need to be developed with audio. In addition, the audio needs to be clear.

A suggestion would be for the audio to come with choices of different types of voices and the child would need to be able to vary the speed and volume of the voices. A nice to have may be for the child to be able to have the options on the screen spelled out to them.

If the toy or game comes with a screen then the screen could be enlarged for those kids with low vision. Color schemes and fonts are important as well. These features can help all kids with enough vision to use a screen and those who do not need to depend on audio.

More and more educational toys and games, and other types of toys are being developed with audio and this is good for blind kids as well. So to complete this picture in summary: Develop toys and games with more audio and do so with additional features for clarity, spelling, and pronunciation. In addition, toys with larger screens that contain more distinguishable colors and larger fonts.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your free lance writer and roving reporter wishing you a terrific day.

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