Learning to read is a milestone in every child’s life. But can you imagine teaching a child who can’t see the words on the page?
“Her hands are her eyes,” says Timothy Redfield, pastor at Trinity, Belle Plaine, Minnesota. He is talking about his six-year-old daughter Libby who was born blind due to an optic nerve condition.
Redfield and his wife are teaching Libby how to read Braille. Even though she is still learning how to read, “once she got the idea that reading time mean bumps on the page, she likes to feel the page and know the Braille is there,” says Redfield.
While the Redfields are able to get free children’s books in Braille from the state and county, they also wanted Libby to be able to read about her Savior. They began working with the Mission for the Visually Impaired (MVI), a ministry of WELS Special Ministries that provides Christian literature to those who are blind or have a visual impairment. They sent several of their favorite Christian story books to the MVI. Volunteers then produced and positioned clear Braille stickers into the books so Libby could read along.
“As a parent, I can read all the words on the page while Libby feels the Braille,” says Redfield. Redfield says he guides Libby’s hands over the words in Braille while he reads them so that she can learn how to read it on her own.
The Mission for the Visually Impaired also provides weekly Christ-Light Sunday school lesson in Braille so that Libby can follow along while her teacher reads the story.
Manned by volunteers and headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., the Mission for the Visually Impaired produces devotional and other materials in Braille, large print, and on cassette tape, which are distributed free to WELS and non-WELS visually impaired people. It currently is working on a project to have downloadable Christian audio resources available online.
“Our goal is to spread his Word—in any way we can!” says Bill Bremel, MVI director.
Learn more about the Mission for the Visually Impaired and the resources it provides (including a large-print edition of this magazine) at wels.net/visually-impaired.
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Volume 105, Number 5
Issue: May 2018
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