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Closed 06/10/2022
Living Paintings

Help Blind Children Starting School with the Magic of Picture Books

Help us create new tactile picture books and give more blind children like Minnie free access to the visual world of books and learning.
raised of £10,000 target
by 32 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
Closed on 06/10/2022
RCN 1049103

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Hi! I'm Caroline. I'm Mum to Frank and Minnie and I'd like to talk to you a little bit about my youngest, Minnie. She is four-years-old and is about to take that big step in her life - starting school! Every parent out there will know that this can be a nerve-wracking time. My son Frank is about to go into Year 3, so you would think I'd be used to it. But for Minnie, the process has been a little bit different...

When Minnie was three-months-old she was diagnosed with a condition called Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), an inherited eye condition which means signals from the eye don't arrive to the brain properly. It means that she has no central vision and we registered her as blind at six months. And as we approach Minnie starting school, it has meant lots of prep to make sure both her and the school are ready. The school and nursery have been fantastic and we've been having lots of conversations together at home to prepare her - and with a blind child, specialist resources are so incredibly helpful for these.

Just after Minnie was diagnosed, we were introduced to an amazing charity called Living Paintings. They take bestselling children's picture books and adapt them into tactile, audio and braille versions for blind children so they can see through touch. Before, I had never considered how children's books rely on the illustrations to tell the full story and how this isn't accessible for children with visual impairments. Reading a book is such a simple thing that we take for granted, but blind children don't get that experience on the same level as their sighted peers. Its incredible to know that there are places like Living Paintings that are dedicated to bridging that gap so blind children don't miss out on these experiences.

The illustrations are adapted into raised pictures and each comes with an audio description that guides little fingers over the tactile illustrations so they can feel every lump, bump and line, and she can build a picture in her mind of the drawings through touch. All their books are available to borrow for free from their postal library for blind children.

Minnie absolutely loves them! They are a part of our nightly routine and we have around eight on loan at any one time. Her favourite one is Peppa Pig which we read over and over again together! Were so grateful to have this incredible free service available to us. It has had such a huge impact on our lives and experiences.

But picture books are so much more than stories that can be enjoyed. These early reading experiences can shape kids understanding of the world and there are so many books out there that can help and support children as they experience challenges, approach milestones or face change.

Situational learning books are so important and while Living Paintings have loads in their library to support blind children, they currently have no titles that deal with the starting school. I know this would have been such an amazing resource to have as part of our prep with Minnie. I want to help make sure that parents with blind children approaching this milestone next year can explore some fun, accessible books that can help prepare them.

So, I'm helping Living Paintings raise some funds to add some new starting school titles to their free library of accessible books! Our target is £10,000 and this would make such a massive difference to the charity and all of the families like ours who benefit from their service.

It will help them create new books about starting school that will support blind children like Minnie through the process. The first will be the amazing Bug School by Sam Lloyd! It'll help them reach more families and give their blind children access to the magical world of picture books. And it'll keep their service running and 100% free for the thousands of blind children who love and cherish their wonderful books.

I know times are pretty tough for everybody at the moment, but I cant stress enough how much we get out of Living Paintings books. They are things that parents and blind children use every single day and they are game changing for the experience of reading a book together. I know this will be a great addition to their library and will have such a huge benefit for blind children as they approach school. Any help or support you can give at all would be hugely appreciated and will make a massive difference.

Thank you so much!

Caroline and Minnie x

About the charity

Living Paintings

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RCN 1049103
Living Paintings is the only charity in the UK that designs, creates and publishes tactile and audio books for blind and partially sighted people. Our Touch to See books are available completely free of charge through our postal and online library.

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