Accessing Literature for Blind and Partially Sighted Children and Young People | Fashioneyesta

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my channel. Apologies that I’ve been away for a while,
but doing a dissertation will do that to you. Be warned, potential university students –
by the third year you will be run ragged. But not to say that it isn’t worth it though. So today I have a new video for you,
and it isn’t about fashion or beauty today, but instead it’s about my other passion in life,
which is books. Now I have been wanting to make
this video for quite a while, because it’s something very close to my heart, and something that I feel I can talk with a lot of passion about. So growing up I always loved books,
and it was always a big part of my life. I found it a way to escape the world of reality,
and instead slip into another world, as should every child find that same pleasure in books. But it wasn’t always that easy for me
to actually access books. When I was a child, I was diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia, at the age of one and a half, and what this meant was that I had very limited vision. And as a result I found it very difficult to access books,
because my sight wasn’t of the level of my peers. I found it so difficult to find books
that are in the large print for me, and that I’d be able to slip into the world,
just like they could. Unlike my classmates, who would be sitting at playtime reading the newest Harry Potter book, or the latest book by the likes of Francesca Simon
in her wonderful Horrid Henry series. I wasn’t able to do this, because
I didn’t have the material that I needed. So I wanted to make a video, having all the
knowledge I have today as a grown-up, and having a love for children’s literature,
and actually aspiring to study a PhD in it. I have always been interested in this subject, so now at my age I thought that it was about high time that I made a video about all the things that are available to visually impaired children across the UK, and how they can access literature, to give them the freedom that I didn’t have growing up. So I really hope you enjoy this video, and that it gives you some insight as to what you can access if you are a parent of a visually impaired person,
a teacher of a visually impaired child, or you’re a visually impaired young person yourself. So this is gonna be broken up into 2 parts.
The first part we’re gonna be looking at is charities that are able to help you if you’re
visually impaired and what to get into reading. And the second part is going to be about the technology that’s available out there to you if you are wanting to access books. So I’ll start off with charities that are available to you if you’re a visually impaired person. But also if you’re an older person and you’re visually impaired, you can still use these charities, but as I’ve said, this video is specifically aimed for people who are younger. [Backing music] The first charity is called the RNIB, which stands for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and it’s a very successful charity. And what they aim to do is to help people
with sight loss to habilitate into the world, of all ages, from young to old. But one of their valuable services they offer is actually to help people with visual impairments get into reading, and they have a whole
host of different services you can use, from transcription services, to services
like large print books that they offer. They’re a fantastic charity, and they’re one of the best charities I recommend if you are wanting to get into reading. One of the things that I personally use, now that I’m at university and have a massive reading list every term, is their DAISY player service. Now I have had something called a DAISY player ever since I was young, and what this basically is, it’s a CD player,
but specially designed by the RNIB. It’s got levels of navigation on it,
it talks to you as you press the buttons, and it’s very good if you want to read an audiobook,
and you want to get different titles. Now they offer a valuable service. It’s a free library service and they offer lots of different DAISY CDs, and from all different genres, like factual books, they offer children’s books, adult fiction, crime, whatever you want, they have it.
They have a lot of the classics as well. So I’ve got a few examples of the ones I use.
They come in these little envelope things, and you can basically post them back after you’ve finished, and it’s a free postal service. So I’ve got here Fairy Tales by Oscar Wilde, I have Treasure Island, and I have Robinson Crusoe. I’ll insert a clip right about now as a
demonstration of how to use it. This is what it looks like. It’s grey and it’s got this
little handle here, and it’s a plug-in one. Now, first of all you’ve got the buttons below here. You’ve got the square one, which is the Play button, Either side you’ve got these two triangular buttons, which are the fast forward and rewind buttons. Next to that we’ve got, on the right hand side,
we have the Eject button. Above that we have the Play button,
which is a little round one. Then in the middle we’ve got these arrows,
which are kind of pointed into sort of a sideways, squareish sort of shape. Depending on what disc you have,
it will have different levels of navigation, and this will navigate to certain
chapters and parts of the book. Then above here we’ve got the
button which is for speed, we’ve got one here which is for volume,
and this one’s for pitch. These two buttons here, I can’t exactly
remember what they are for sure, I will put in the description what they are. I don’t really use them, so I don’t think it’s anything integral to the actual to the actual programme. So first of all you want to turn it on…
[player beeps] …and it will announce when it is. [Female voice on player]
Welcome to Victor Reader Classic. [Emily] And then what you want to do… this is the CD I’m gonna put in, this is the one called Robinson Crusoe. You just want to slot it in to the front here. Just feed it in and it will take it in itself, as you can hear. [Player whirrs. Female voice over intro music]
RNIB, supporting blind and partially sighted people. [Male voice] Preface, page 7. [Beep on button press]
Preface. [Beep on button press] [Emily] So, as you can hear, it will navigate to different sections, and you can take it out depending on when you want to, by just pressing the Eject button again. [Player says “Eject”] And when you’re finished with it, all you simply do, is you put it back into this little envelope, facing it round the other way so the disc is on show, because then obviously the postman will see that
the address is the RNIB on the back, and then you’re ready to post it off
and send for a new one. So as you can see, it’s a very
easy piece of equipment to use. Now when it comes to actually acquiring one,
as I believe it stands, you have to get in touch with your local visual impairment borough to actually apply for one. So if you’ve got any questions about the services that RNIB offer when you’re visually impaired and want to get into reading,
or any other of their services, I will insert below the helpline number, so you can call them up if you’ve got any questions to ask. Now a second one that is very close to my heart is called The Living Paintings Trust, and it’s a UK-based charity again, that was set up during the 1980s. And what the charity has been aimed at doing is making the visual world and the visual arts accessible to people with sight loss. And they produce a lot of different tactile packs about art, about music, about literature, about culture, But one of the things that they’re
gravitating towards now is the services that they offer to
children and young people. And they have produced an amazing library of young people’s books and children’s books. So from the classics you’d imagine,
like I’ve got behind me, like The Gruffalo, they have things like Wind In The Willows,
Alice In Wonderland, Roald Dahl. So here as you can see is one of the books
that I’ve got here, called The Gruffalo. Very classic book,
contemporary classic in my opinion. And what the beauty of this book is, it’s not just the original book that you see in the bookstores, but when you open it, what the charity have done is that they have commissioned artists to produce tactile images of different scenes in the book,
so that people with sight loss can actually trace their hand across it, and feel its shape and feel its texture, and feel how it would be in the book So what they are doing is they are producing tactile images that portray the visual world to people with sight loss. And this is
fantastic for children because if you are a mother or a father of a number of children, and you’ve got maybe one that’s sight impaired, but then you’ve got a fully sighted sibling, what this will enable you to do is that you can actually enable your visually impaired child to have the same experiences as your fully sighted child would. So they can read the book along with you,
and they can feel the illustrations. Now on the inside, the other thing about it, is they also offer CDs that go along with these books that you can listen along to, or they have braille on here as well, which your child can read by themselves if they want to. Of course it depends on what braille level they’re at.
I mean, I personally don’t use braille, but if your child does, then this is really great,
because they are actually able to read the book by themselves,
and to learn as they go along. So as you can see, this is
one of the books that they offer. So here’s another example. I don’t know how well you can see this one, but this is one of their Roald Dahl collections, because they also produce a lot of tactile images from the Roald Dahl books. So this is one example. The first image is from
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, and it’s of Charlie Bucket holding
hands with his grandfather. And then the next image we have
is of the certain little hooligans, like there’s Augustus Gloop, there’s Mike Teavee,
there’s Violet Beauregarde, and there’s Veruca Salt. So all the horde there together, so the children can feel how disgusting they are, the little imps. And then here we’ve got an image of,
I believe, this is Violet Beauregarde, and she’s handing in her ticket to Willy Wonka, who is springing about and thinking like
“What the hell are you doing?” And then the last image of this pack is Willy Wonka concocting his little inventions in the inventing room. So what he’s doing is he’s opening a saucepan,
checking things out and that kind of thing. So as you can see these are all
really famous things from the book. And this is fantastic for children who’ve got sight loss, if they’re fully blind or if they’ve always been fully blind, because they’ll be able to get a sense of what the characters looks like, and how they feel, and their posture, and their body language,
from these packs. So they won’t be missing out on what these characters might look like. So it’s really great, because when you think about it, children with sight loss, if they don’t have an indication of
what the visual world looks like, it’s one thing to just tell them what something looks like, like he’s got a blue coat on and he wears a long hat, but this actually enables you to get a sense of how they walk, how they move, how tall they are, what their mass is, that kind of thing.
So it’s fantastic. And if you want to know more about their library service, I will again link them down below, with all their information and
how you can get onto their library. It’s a free library service, by the way,
you don’t have to pay for anything. You don’t have to pay for postage, you don’t have
to pay a subscription fee, it’s all completely free, and you can borrow as many books as you like. And it’s a service that provides books for not just young people and children, but also older adults. So it’s a fantastic service, and if you’ve never
heard of them, I would strongly suggest you go and check them out, because they’re a really amazing charity, and worth their weight in gold. Now one of the next charities I want to talk to you about is Blind Children UK. So, what they offer to young people is a service called CustomEyes books. It’s that they take lots of different titles that you might know, such as Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant, they have titles like Roald Dahl’s books, they have
Harry Potter, anything you can imagine, and they convert them into large print books that are customised to the sight level of the child. So they can actually customise the book to your size of font that you prefer, to the particular font you like, and if you’ve got particularly a
colour contrast that you might like. So when I was younger, I used to prefer to read against green, because it was easier for my eyes to focus, so they used to produce for me books that had green paper, like light green paper with the text on it. And this is really great. You do have to pay for this service though, because obviously they do have to customise books
depending on what you want. You can actually enjoy the
same books that your peers can. So it’s a really valuable service, and if you’re the person who likes to actually read a book and have a hard copy in front of you, then this might be something worthwhile looking into. So I’m just gonna mention a few other charities
that you might want to look at. I personally have never had any dealings with these charities before, but I thought I’d mention them anyway, because they might be of use to you. So the first one is a charity called Calibre,
and what they do is they offer a library of different audiobooks for visually impaired people,
and people with other disabilities like dyslexia. And they have lots of different titles available. The next charity is one
called ClearVision Project, and they are a library service that offer
braille books for visually impaired children. The next charity I want to mention to you is called Listening Books, and it’s a charity that again offers lots of different titles, in formats like MP3, CD, online formats for visually impaired people. [Backing music] This part we’re going to be
looking at today is technology, So, technology is fantastic for people with sight loss, for all different reasons, but one of them is that actually it can enable you to access books and use them. Now there’s lots of different things out there that you can use, and lots of different services that are available to you, but there are a few
that I personally love to you. Now the first is my iPhone, and what I basically mean by this is that on your iPhone you can lots of different apps that actually will
enable you to listen to audiobooks, to read online books, to read Kindle format books.
So there’s lots of apps that are available to you, and as some of you probably know,
iPhone is completely Voiceover accessible, and you also have the option of having things like Speak Selection. Now I’m gonna demonstrate a couple of these different apps that you might want to use. The first one I’m gonna show you
is an app called Audible. Now what Audible is, it’s an online store, and they offer lots of different audiobook titles. And you can pay via subscription, so for the price of £7.99 per month, you can access different books, you can buy a book a month,
you can use your credit as it were. For that price every month you get one credit,
and you can download a book and listen to it. And the benefit of it is you can just trial it out
for one month, so I’ll link it down below where you can actually trial it. You can trial it
for one month, and if you don’t like it, you can cancel your subscription and end it. So, what you do is you go on to Accessibility, and then there will be an option here
which is called Speech. So, when you go on to Speech, there should be Speak Selection enabled and Screen Selection enabled, or Speak Screen as it’s called. So you can change the speed of how
quickly you want the voice to be. So then what I’m gonna do, is I’m gonna go
on to my Kindle app, which is here and then what you wanna do, when you’ve enabled Speak Screen, you want to basically swipe three fingers down, and it will read it out to you. [Male voice on iPhone]
…to solve the great puzzles of civilisation today… [Emily] And it will just flick the screen over,
as you wanna go. If you don’t like using Voiceover like me,
then this is a great option. And then obviously you’ve got
another app here called iBooks. The same kind of thing as Kindle, and you can have different books on there from the iTunes Store, You can also put documents on there from certain things like your scans, things like I do like all my university documents. So as you can see I’ve got a few books on here,
but I have most of them on my Kindle these days. But it’s the same kind of thing, you basically just enable Speak Screen, and you can do the same thing, or Voiceover as well if you want to. That’s not just it when it comes to technology of course, there’s lots of different things you can use if you want to get into books. You can take a book and you can
scan it on your printer, or on a scanner at your university,
or your college, or your school. You can take, for Mac or your computer, you can download certain books online and you can use those. There’s things like Kindles, there’s Sony e-readers, there’s lots of different things you can use when you’re visually impaired
and want to get into books. If you want to get a piece of technology
that will help you get into books, I would check the Voiceover compatibility
and the accessibility features. Now I’m going to be creating a hashtag here.
What I would like all of my viewers to do, anyone who is interested in books, is to
take a picture of a book that they love, and to put the hashtag
#WordsBeyondSight. If you’re visually impaired, this is particularly useful,
because I really want to show the general public how important it is to actually have books
available that are in accessible formats. So thank you so much for watching today guys,
I really hope you enjoyed it, And don’t forget to subscribe and like and comment if you like this video. And I will see you next time. Bye! Hey guys, thank you so much for
watching my video again today. Don’t forget you can follow me on other
social links by clicking the links below, and don’t forget you can subscribe for more videos. See you next time!

8 Replies to “Accessing Literature for Blind and Partially Sighted Children and Young People | Fashioneyesta

  1. Enjoyed this Video. It's so important to enable children and young people to have access to books. Well Done xx

  2. I really loved this video! It was so imformative! When i was younger i ordered books in large print from the RNIB (i still order books from them to use in school but not as much at home anymore) I love reading but large print books i find are so heavy and they tend to take a lot of space. I occassionally use the daisy player also and find it really helpful when i don't want to struggle to read myself. I often use my iphone and ipad to read books now as i find the accessibility amazing and the speak selection is very helpful. The way i read books recently is by using the optelec magnifier (although i think the one i have is being discontinued) i find the zoom really well on it and you can also change the colour of the screen (which is really helpful). There are such amazing things out there now to help visually impaired people to access books and i think it's amazing! This was a great video Emily! Hope you are well 💗xxx

  3. Hi Emily, thank you for making this video. I work in publishing and recently lost my sight (from full vision to sudden blindness).. I've regained enough vision to keep working, but this experience has really made me appreciate how much harder it is for people, and young people in particular, with sight loss to enjoy books and to fall in love with stories. I personally think that the publishing industry could do a lot more to be inclusive, but I wasn't aware of the tactile picture books – they're such an amazing idea, and I'm really glad that they do exist. Especially for Mog, as Mog the Cat was my favourite series when I was growing up. I hope you get the funding you need for your MA 🙂

  4. Another video captioned for you Emily, great information as always. My parents had a DAISY player for a long time, so we were very familiar with those. My mother now uses Overdrive to download books to her Victor Stream player, and I've used the Overdrive app on my iPhone a few times. We've had books from Calibre in the past as well, so I knew about them. I wasn't aware of a few of the other charities you mentioned though, so it was very interesting to hear about them. 🙂

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