I received this email from Stuart Beveridge. who works with visually impaired children in Scotland.
In April, I began working with an eleven year old boy who had lost his sight last year. He was playing soccer with his friends, fell while chasing the ball and was rushed into hospital. He had suffered a brain infection from the fall and was in a coma.
When he woke up, he had lost his sight and speech. After several months of speech therapy, he regained his language skills, but his sight would not return. His favorite activity – xBox video games – was no longer possible: those games are not accessible to blind people. The boy’s parents contacted me for help, and I immediately thought of the Blindfold Games.
“I first showed him Blindfold Dominoes; he was struggling to master the basics of VoiceOver on his iPhone, and was often lost when he was trying to navigate the different screens. The challenge was to find a simple way of teaching him the basics and giving him the confidence to perform the gestures more accurately and effectively. “Blindfold Dominoes, come on down!”
We did a full lesson on Dominoes, encouraging him to play the game when he could. I emphasized that this game, once learned, would give him the grounding he needed to enable him to navigate and use basic VoiceOver gestures successfully.
Two weeks later, the change in him was unbelievable. Not only did he master the game, but now listens to YouTube for entertainment, sets reminders for his school work and hospital appointments, and uses FaceTime to keep in contact with his friends.
Another element of Dominoes is the two finger double tap gesture, which is used to “pass” when you can’t play a domino. VoiceOver uses this gesture to play and pause music and is a quick way to answer or end phone calls. Without Blindfold Dominoes, I don’t know how he would have managed; in his words: “it makes the iPhone less boring!”
I have just introduced him and his visually impaired friends to Blindfold Bowling. It’s a step up from Blindfold Dominoes, and he’s learning the sounds, audio cues and feedback from the game. Within ten minutes of playing, they were competing with each other for a bag of Mars Bars. All went home with smiles on their faces.
Your games have transformed his life. He realizes that he can still have fun playing games and participate in social activities with all his friends: sighted and visually impaired.