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11/05/2019

Lego Instructions Will be Available for Visually Impaired People

Generations upon generations of American families have been brought up to enjoy Lego toys. The Lego Group has been around since August 1932 making it one of the oldest still-relevant toy production companies. Although originally from Denmark, the Lego brand has become more popular in the US where there are several outlets that sell Lego toys.

You can easily purchase new Lego sets from Amazon. If you are outside of the US, this might prove challenging because most sellers don’t offer international shipping directly from their stores. This is a widespread challenge that doesn’t really deter shoppers from buying their Lego sets. And it can easily be solved. The challenge that has always been faced by most Lego lovers is the toys’ inaccessibility when it comes to buyers who are visually impaired.
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Lego Braille Bricks

As of April 2019, Lego introduced Braille Bricks to help those with visual impairment. Since they already learn or know Braille, it helps their learning process to buy Lego Braille Bricks online. This addition makes the Lego sets more accessible than ever before.

Speaking to Beyond the Brick about this addition, one of the visually impaired students described this as “Having something tangible that you can rearrange in so many different ways.” For those without the sense of sight, Braille is an international language that helps them to learn and engage. One of the core principles behind Lego’s toys is being universally accessible and usable as a learning tool.
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With the new Braille Bricks edition, Lego is now several steps closer to realizing that goal and also being an inclusive tool. Now all kids can play together using the Braille Bricks alongside the ordinary bricks that have always been available. For teachers, this is a necessary development that comes way longer than it was intended. However, developing Braille Bricks takes a lot of time and resources. The change might only be felt after several years when there are more toy sets in use. 

Inspiration Behind Lego Braille Bricks

The idea to develop and sell Braille Bricks on a large scale was an idea inspired by events outside of Lego. For Matthew Shifrin, playing with all toys and Lego bricks that other kids enjoyed was out of the question. Even with Lego’s popularity and success, their toys remained pretty limited for the visually impaired to enjoy playing with the bricks. As a blind kid, he could only dream of playing with such toy sets, but there were no instructions to help him build the way Lego sets are intended.

Not one to be defeated or stand back and watch, Lilya Finkel gifted Shifrin, a young family friend, with a customised Lego toy set that ultimately changed his life. On his thirteenth birthday, Finkel came bearing a huge cardboard box alongside a thick binder. Turns out that she had spent lots of time binding up instructions that were hand-Brailled using her home typewriter. For the young lad, this was the best birthday present ever. And for Finkel, Shifrin’s reaction was enough motivation for her.
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Afterwards, she dedicated her life to translating more Lego box instructions to Braille so that more visually impaired kids could enjoy their Lego toy sets. This proved to be too much work for one woman and although she was a dedicated enthusiast. Through her acquaintance at MIT, she finally managed to get in touch with The Lego Company making it public that it was possible for their toy sets to include visually impaired children.This started the work to audio translate some toy sets, and this was a lot of work. Finkel had barely touched surface by her time of passing in 2017.

Where did this selfless lady’s actions leave the Lego industry? Of course, The Lego Company was inspired and started being open towards creating more Lego sets with Braille instructions. Shifrin is still alive and is actively keeping tabs on the toy company to make sure that they effect their plan to consider visually impaired kids.

The Big Announcement April 2019

It has taken quite some time for Lego to come to the playfield with toy sets and instructions that can also be enjoyed by visually impaired children. But as the saying goes: ‘better late than never.’ It takes time, resources and a lot of dedication to come up with just one Lego instruction book for visually impaired children. But for the most part, the company is working in the best of its abilities to make it possible for the visually impaired to buy the limited-edition Lego sets.

All efforts made to date have some fruits to show for the hard work. There are currently four sets released by the official Lego site for visually impaired builders. Visiting the legoaudioinstructions.com website will give you the options to select. Pick yours from:
StarterSetLegoClassicBricksandIdeas

  • Starter Set Lego Classic Bricks and Ideas – this is where most Lego builders start from, you learn with this fun, classic set. When ordered from the official site, it comes with special first-time instructions for the visually impaired builder.

    From Doc Toy Penoy channel

  • Lego Friends Emma’s Art Studio – start building Emma’s double story art studio using the audio instructions provided.

    From Lego channel

  • The Lego Movie 2 Emmet & Benny’s Workshop – what is Lego without the Lego Movie? Visually impaired little builders who enjoyed the movie can now remake some of the scenes using this 117-piece set.

    From Lego Instructions channel

  • Lego City Sky Patrol Police Drone Chase – Using this set, you can use the police helicopter and Sky police drone to chase the bad guys. It’s one of the most fun and easy to build sets hence it makes sense that it was one of the first to be developed by Lego for the audio instructions.

    From Lego Instructions channel

It takes time to come up with complete audio instructions for each Lego set. For now, these are the four available from where buyers can select. Over time, Lego will develop and add more audio instructions.

What You Can Do to Get the New Lego Sets 2019

On your end, the best you can do is show interest in the new editions. You can start by getting prepared to purchase the audio instructions. If you are ready to buy these sets, as soon as they are released, then it’s a matter of giving instructions or carrying through with the instructions. Just like every other limited edition, there will be quite a handful of newly released. Even if you can buy Lego from Amazon, as usual, chances of getting the Braille Lego sets are limited. You can avoid the disappointment that usually comes with last-minute shopping.
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It’s possible to create a request way before any of your products become available for the public to purchase. You don’t even need to have a membership with Parcl to create your request on the site. Getting started is easy and doesn’t take much time.

To get started:

1.      Visit Parcl package forwarding website and create a request.

2.      Fill out the forms with all the details concerning your location and the type of Lego set that you want to purchase.

3.      After providing the Parcl site with the complete details, you will get quotations from all forwarders that are available to provide you with their services.

4.      Select the one that you would like to work with to bring in your Lego set to use with the instructions for visually impaired people, and pay the invoice to get started.

5.      Your Lego set will be purchased from the link you provided, or the forwarder might give you better advice depending on the type and level of assistance you requested.

Once your Lego sets arrive, you can complete the order and rate the service you received. You can use Parcl each time you need to ship internationally from US Amazon and not just for this new edition of Lego toy sets.
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