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A colouring book specially for blind & low vision kids by Raised Lines Foundation

Raised Lines Foundation, at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has developed a colouring book especially for blind and low vision children, which aims to bring the joy of creativity to all children, regardless of disability.

All children love to colour the world around them, be it things from nature or cartoon characters. It's a joy that many blind and low vision kids do not get to experience. Raised Lines Foundation (RLF), the Indian Institute of Technology - Delhi (IIT-D)-incubated enterprise is out to change that.

The team at RLF has developed a colouring book especially for children who are blind and low vision. The children can feel the outline of the objects and fill them with the colours of their choice with crayons that are labelled for easy identification by touch.

All visually impaired children love to colour no matter what the degree of vision loss and we started working on a colouring book as an internal project. While speaking to kids at the KG level, we found that they all related to colour. Like one little girl said 'I am looking pretty today because I am wearing pink', which shows they understand colours and relate it to them in different ways. This gave us the idea of designing a tactile colouring book. - Lipika, Design Lead, Raised Lines Foundation

The book was created in partnership with the National Association for the Blind, New Delhi. "The children at NAB were so excited about filling in the outlines with colour", says Lipika. "They could relate to things like the sun is yellow in colour. They associate the colours with what they have in their daily lives".

The diagrams are designed in regular software and printed from an embosser. The outlines of the diagrams are raised so children can feel them and colour in. The books will be made available online in a few weeks' time.

"Such activities are relatively new for them", says Dr Preeti Khanna, a special educator and member of NAB's editorial board. "When they are small, teachers make tactile diagrams for them to colour but this becomes hard as the kids grow older as the syllabus is so vast". As a result, after preparatory school, most kids at blind schools don't get to colour often.

The children at NAB, says Dr Khanna, especially enjoyed, colouring the Disney characters in the book created by RLF. "They also liked colouring the sun, flowers, etc". The teachers labelled the crayons so the children could identify them easily.

Dr Khanna says the book, when available online, will be used widely. "Children from classes 2 and 3 have a break after exams when we can give them the books or during study breaks for recreational activities. This is such a great idea because it reinforces the concept of colours and they get to associate the colours with what they have in their day to day lives".

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With bumpy patterns, touchable glitter, shiny spots, and textured patches, Really Feely: Farm is sure to delight preschoolers as they pat and tickle each farm animal.

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T V Aishwarya, a self-taught painter, who is visually impaired, says everyone must have access to art regardless of disability. Aishwarya teaches art to people who are blind and low vision in Hyderabad. "It is important for them to understand the basic colours in their world so they can implement their creativity accordingly. Understanding the elements of nature is important and I am so glad that a book of this kind has been created for visually impaired children".

Also Read: Key topics in economics made accessible for students with hearing & vision disabilities

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