4 ways to help blind and visually impaired people during the festive season

Christmas can be a wonderful time. But if you have a disability or impairment, many aspects of the season can leave you feeling excluded. Blogger Holly, who has is blind due to Retinopathy of Prematurity and runs the blog Life of a Blind Girl, shares her post on four ways you can make Christmas more inclusive for blind and visually impaired people.

A few years ago, I started a series of posts with Elin, who runs My Blurred World, about seeing the world through sight loss – you can find everything you need to know about it and our previous posts on my blog.

In this post, we wanted to share some tips on how to make Christmas fully accessible for blind and visually impaired people and how to give us a helping hand during the festive period.

We’re not saying that these tips will work for everyone, or that you have to use them –  and we are by no means saying that we personally use them all. But we wanted to share them in the hope that they might be a guide for some people at this time of year.

There are also many more ways to make the festive period accessible and we couldn’t cover everything. We also know that everyone is different, but these are a good place to start…

1. Writing Christmas cards with large print or brail

Brailling or writing a large-print message in Christmas cards is a simple way to make Christmas accessible.

By doing this, it means that the blind or visually impaired person can read the cards themselves independently.

However, it can often be difficult for sighted people to braille Christmas cards themselves, especially if they do not know braille. But there are places that sell braille cards, many of which can be found online. I’ve received a birthday card from Braille Greeting Cards.

If you would like to try to braille your own Christmas card, there are braille guides online to help you with this. Try RNIB (Royal Institute for the Blind) – the braille alphabet card mentioned here could be really useful – and Braillists Foundation has some good resources. It may be a good idea to make the message a bit shorter as braille is larger than print.

If you’re writing your cards in large print, it’s a good idea to write them using a chunky pen on a white or yellow background.

For blind and visually impaired people, brailling or writing large print Christmas cards can be a fun activity to send to other blind or visually impaired friends or family.

2. Label gifts in an accessible format

Ideally, label gifts in a format that’s accessible for a blind or visually impaired person. This can be a huge help!

You can braille the gift tag, write it in large print or use a device that will read it out creating a spoken label, such as a penfriend labeller or the ORCam.

Holly, who is visually impaired

3. Use brail on advent calendars

Brail or put large-print numbers on advent calendars. It can be impossible for totally blind people to find the correct door on an advent calendar and very hard for those with low vision to see the written numbers, so doing this makes it fully accessible.

It’s also a way of promoting independence and making the blind or visually impaired person equal to those with sight.

If a blind or visually impaired person would like to do this, it means that they will more than likely need sighted assistance at first in order to stick the numbers on the correct doors but it can be a fun activity, especially for children. I used to love doing this when I was younger!

If you don’t really have the time to do this, you can also buy tactile advent calendars which are often accessible for blind or visually impaired people.

4. Buy accessible games

We all play games at Christmas right? You can get well-known games or new ones in both braille or large print from many places so it’s fun, inclusive and accessible for everyone.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful!

By Holly 

Check out Holly’s blog Life of a Blind Girl and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

More on Disability Horizons…

Holly Tuke

I am an award-winning disability blogger, freelance writer and disability advocate. I currently split my time between working within the charity sector, writing articles for publications, doing a bit of radio presenting and creating content for my own blog. I created Life of a Blind Girl in 2015 as a way of sharing my experiences of living with a vision impairment in a predominantly sighted world. Over on the blog, I discuss all aspects of vision impairment and disability, as well as a few concert-related blog posts thrown in the mix.
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