Help Them to See the World through Technical Aids
Parents’ Association for the Visually Impaired –
The Employment Promotion Program of Producing Braille Transcription, Braille Processing and Tactile Teaching Tools
Subject: Help Them to See the World through Technical Aids
Background: Enhancing the Teaching Tool Quality as the a start to Strive for the Rights of Visually Impaired
For visually impaired people, visual disturbances not only cause inconveniences in life, but also bring challenges in learning. In the past, impaired people’s right of having equal education and work opportunity as ordinary people was affected by deficient education and medical resources as well as a public misunderstanding towards impaired people’s learning and working ability.
In July 1996, Parents’ Association for the Visually Impaired was formally established. As the association members realized a must to enhance the visually impaired education resources, they have been proactively taking care of visually impaired people and striving for their rights and benefits within a reasonable range while helping them to get with the social life. To enhance severe visually impaired people’ learning in geography, the association has since 2003 started to proactively develop the “tactile teaching tools” including braille books and tactile graphic teaching tools under the instructions of scholars with specialty in the visually impaired special education domain and assistances under special education teachers.
A Big Leap for the Braille Transcription and Tactile Teaching Tools
In order to improve braille teaching materials and to promote the quality and quantity of tactile teaching tools, the association has since 2007 integrated the labor of middle- and high aged employed population from Council of Labor Affairs’ “Multiple Employment Promotion Program(MEPP) – Braille and Tactile Teaching Tool Production Programs” and the sponsorship of “Qiu Pu Culture and Education Foundation”(財團法人秋圃文教基金會) to develop and produce “Tactile Taiwan Atlas”, “Tactile China Atlas” and “Tactile Tellurion” successively; the association itself also developed teaching tools including the “Tactile Taiwan Atlas” in 2008 and “Tactile China Atlas” in 2009.
By participating in “Multiple Employment Promotion Program” and offering services like developing braille transcription and tactile teaching tools, three-dimensional geographical atlas and dual-print braille textbooks, the association has solved the production capacity issue of textbooks for visually impaired. It is also expected that these development will enhance the quality of braille transcription textbook.
In terms of financial independence, the association has combined services and economic benefits, and thought from aspects of visually impaired and purchasers to understand the needs of visually impaired people. They then sell braille transcription and tactile teaching tools to those who have needs as the financial basis of the association for a sustainable development; the association also maintains its original human resource scale despite the fact that it will be challenged by a gradually decreasing subsidy due to the end of the three year subsidy program, and will face pressures of an increasing cost as it has to self-finance the salary of its employees. Besides, in terms of assisting employees in fostering their vocational capacities, the association has integrated resources of related departments, assisted visually impaired employees to adapt their work environment, developed new teaching tools for children and increased association’s visibility.
In terms of the environment-friendly, the association also provides the work opportunity unemployed visually impaired people, middle- and high-age groups, and unemployed people with specialty in art design to promote local employment. Besides, the association has cooperated with technology companies to develop improved dual-print braille software to enhance the quality of multiple print braille products, and bring a significant growth in these projects in terms of performances; cooperated with special education teachers and visually impaired students to develop simple and practical tactile aids by holding participant observations, in-depth interviews and real practices, while acquiring patents certifications for these designs; developed teaching tools for visually impaired people including tactile Taiwan Atlas, China Atlas, World Atlas, tactile tellurion and dual-print braille table calendar. The association has both creativities and the capability of implementing feasibilities.
Upholding the spirit of ensuring impaired people’s right of learning and being educated, the association has, over the last 16 years, dedicated itself to the development braille books and tactile graphic teaching tools, enabling impaired people to learn easily like normal people and get involved to the society. It also seeks for private enterprises and groups’ sponsorships to develop and make tactile teaching tools, expecting that every impaired people will be able to acquire the knowledge and information required through aid teaching tools.