Sitting on the couch and reading a book together with the children, for most of us it is a normal and everyday experience. Not for ELIA children and their families. Children with visual impairments or blindness have difficulty and sometimes simply cannot enjoy a number in the same way that children see can.
We do everything possible to allow the children of ELI a complete childhood experience, just like any other child their age. Therefore, we have opened an accessible library for them, currently only in the Jerusalem branch, tailored just for them. Made with five balloons, hot corn, safflower and more and more, the difference is that these books are accessible. That is, the books are written in Braille in addition to the regular script, so that both parent and child can read together. A page in the book has a tactile illustration, all to allow children to have as complete a reading experience as possible.
For example, the story of Caspian. The story describes the adventures of a small fish named Caspion. Most children know what a fish looks like, they have seen fish in an aquarium, on TV or maybe even in the sea, for them the story is about that specific fish called a spearfish. For children with visual impairment should start one step first, what does a fish look like? The illustration will be in the form of a fish with a slippery texture, in the characteristic shape of the fish. The illustrated fish will be in an environment that simulates water, all to pump the child into the story, into Caspion’s world. In the same way the things he goes through will be illustrated. For example, the meeting with the shark, the illustration will be of a shark, with the large and sharp teeth and will illustrate its size in relation to that of the small minnow.
The accessible library allows, in addition to the reading experience itself, literacy development and preparation for reading in Braille. This also has a direct impact on children’s cognitive development and their language skills. As noted on other pages on the site, children with blindness or visual impairment may accumulate developmental delays due to their visual status, this is another reason for us to allow ELI children the benefit of having a library tailored specifically for them.