After returning home from school, there are two people with whom I like to share all my news. They enjoy listening to my tales. The first person is my nani. She is always anxious to listen to me. She waits for me to return from school. She is quite old and often has back pains. She cannot see or hear well. Everyday in the morning, papa reads the newspaper aloud to her. She does the rest of her work herself. If someone tries to help her she gets very upset. Though she cannot see properly she is very fond of cutting vegetables. She says – these days children do not know how to cut vegetables properly. The second person is my Ravi bhaiya. He lives with us. I call him Ravi bhaiya and he calls my parents –bhaiya-bhabhi. I do not know what our relationship is but he is a very loving brother. He is always ready to answer my questions. He never says – I will tell you later. Ravi bhaiya teaches in a college. The students of the college respect him a lot. A few of them come home to study from him. Ravi bhaiya is very fond of listening to music and taking part in plays. He enjoys chatting with his friends and going out with them. He has a good sense of humour and makes all of us laugh. Bhaiya carries a white stick when he goes out. Looking at him, moving around in the house, no one can say that he cannot see. He likes to do all his work himself. If someone tries to help him against his wish he gets angry. Whenever he needs any help, he asks for it. Some of Bhaiya’s students take books from him and return them after recording them on tapes. Ravi bhaiya listens to these tapes. Bhaiya has many other books too. The pages of these books are thick and have rows of raised points (dots). He reads by running his fingers on the raised dots. To have fun with bhaiya, I sometimes change the place of his stick. He does get upset but never gets angry. After all, I am his favourite sister – Seema. I had hardly reached the door that bhaiya spoke up – Seema, you seem to be very happy today. Bhaiya recognises not only me but all the other family members from the sound we make as we move. He can even tell whether I am happy or sad. Bhaiya ! Finally I am in the football team – I shared my news with him. He patted me and said lovingly – From today, you are my football coach! ❉ Seema’s father reads the newspaper aloud to her nani. How do you help old people? ❉ What kind of problems do people have in old age? Children take interest in stories. Children can be sensitised by discussing the characters in this story. ❉ How does Ravi bhaiya come to know so many things without seeing ? ❉ Have you ever needed a stick? When? ❉ Can you think when you may need a stick? ❉ How do we help those people who cannot see? Is there any member in your family who cannot see, speak or hear? Do you know any such person? How do people help them with their work? You read in the story that Ravi bhaiya cannot see. But he does all his work on his own. He studies from a different kind of books. To understand how he is able to do his work, close your eyes and play this game. Blindfold Blindfold any one child in the group. One by one, the other children come to him or her quietly. The child who is blindfolded has to guess who the other child is, by touching him or her. Take care not to make any sound. Do you know why? In the same way, one by one, blindfold all the other children. Each one has to try and guess by touching who the other children are. We can understand the problems of others better by putting ourselves in their situations. Discuss and tell ♦ How many children could recognise the others by touching? ♦ How many children could recognise the other children by only hearing them? ♦ Which was easier of the two? ❉ Touch and tell how many teeth are there in your mouth? Which students in the class have the maximum number of teeth? ❉ How many things can you recognise by only touching? ❉ Close your eyes and listen. What sounds can you hear? Which people can you identify from the sound they make as they move? ❉ By just smelling can you guess if it is someone close to you? There is a special way of reading and writing for people who cannot see. It is called Braille. It is written on a thick paper by making a row of raised points (dots) with a pointed tool. Braille is read by running the fingers on the raised dots. ❉ Let us see whether it is difficult or easy to recognise a shape without seeing it. Take a sheet of sandpaper. Make a shape on it by pressing a piece of thick wool or thick thread on it. Ask your friend to close her/his eyes and identify the shape by running her/his finger on the sheet. Ask your friend, was it easy or difficult? ❉ Ask your friend to make a shape on the sand paper in the similar way. Now, you identify it by feeling with your fingers. Take a thick piece of paper. Make an outline on the paper with the help of a compass or a needle. Make dots at a short distance on the outline drawn. You can see that the paper is raised on the other side. Now, ask your friend to close his or her eyes and feel with the fingers to tell what you have outlined. Isn’t it difficult? Think, about how people who cannot see are able to read. Let us learn about Braille You have seen that Ravi bhaiya reads special types of books. How were these books made? Who first thought of these books? Let us find out about it. Louis Braille belonged to France. One day, when he was three years old, he was playing with his father’s tools. Suddenly, a pointed tool hurt his eyes. He lost his eyesight. He had keen interest in studies. He did not give up. He kept thinking of different ways to read and write. Finally he found a way – reading by touching and feeling. This way of reading later came to be known as the Braille script. In this type of a script, a row of raised dots are made on a thick paper. Because these dots are raised they can be read by running the fingers on them. This script is based on six points. The Braille script has undergone many changes these days. This has made reading and writing simpler. Braille can now also be written using the computer. If you show the children the actual Braille script they will be able to understand it better.