Sometimes we get caught up in our own lives so much, we miss the bigger picture. It happens to everyone, we worry about our job, school, spouse or children. And life passes by so quickly, sometimes these are all we think about.
That’s why I think it’s extraordinary that The LEGO Group took a step back, looked around and decided to welcome another group of people into its world.
There are so many already inside their world regardless of their age, sex, ethnicity or religion. LEGO bricks are universal, and we know it. But now, they’re taking this amazing step to include visually impaired people in that circle. I can hear you say “How do you know they’re not already playing with LEGO bricks?” I don’t, but in my heart I know they are. This is different, though. The LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation are teaming up to create Braille bricks.
Braille is the writing system used by the visually impaired. I have seen it from time to time, especially on medicine boxes, but I never knew what it was called because it was never a part of my life. According to Philippe Chazal, Treasurer of the European Blind Union, the number of kids learning Braille has decreased due to the existence of audiobooks and computer programs. He says “This is particularly critical when we know that Braille users often are more independent, have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities.”
Apparently, the Danish Association of the Blind and the Brazilian-based Dorina Nowill Foundation for the Blind have taken an offer to the LEGO Foundation in 2011 and 2017. Right now, the first prototypes are out to be tested by the visually impaired. And in 2020, the first LEGO Braille sets will be released. They will include the alphabet, numbers from 0-9, some math symbols and activities for teaching and playing. The bricks will be moulded according to the individual letters of the alphabet, and they will be fully compatible with regular LEGO bricks.
LEGO Braille Bricks with Letters
Being as awesome as they are, LEGO didn’t only create bricks with Braille alphabet, but printed letters on them too, so those who are playing with the visually impaired but not familiar with Braille won’t be excluded.
Like I said, sometimes we get caught up in life and don’t realize how lucky we are. Of course, nobody’s life is perfect, we all have our own problems and troubles. But when I read an article talking about the “toy of the century” increasing its reach while reminding everyone else these people exist and should not be excluded, I can only think of two words: