Blind children have unique and complex needs for obvious reasons. If you add the difficulties of being a special needs child, the challenges are even more complex. For instance, not only does a blind child with special needs need to learn how to cope with their disabilities, but the psychological impact of the disabilities can leave the child in a state of frustration, feeling that efforts are only regarded with failure and every endeavor can only be accomplished with the assistance of someone else. These obstacles could also confront an adult with similar problems, but a child has neither the experience nor the understanding to find ways to maintain their self-esteem while intelligently seeking avenues of success in their endeavors. The child can easily and understandably become withdrawn, afraid to keep trying because of the high probability of failure.
Cuttable Learning Tools Inspired by Real Life
One of the inspirations for creating the Cuttables products at Createable Learning Concepts was a child named Alex. Alex was five years old and had been blind since birth. But Alex was blessed in that he was cognitively normal , with a normal level of energy, inquisitiveness and desire to learn to do things by himself. But cutting out shapes with scissors as his classmates were doing was not a task that he could achieve, not without assistance. Cuttables were designed to accommodate special needs children develop fine motor skills, but also with children like Alex in mind.
What are Cuttables?
A Cuttable has two identically-shaped surfaces (circles, squares, triangles and rectangle) that are held together magnetically. The design allows a piece of paper to be inserted between the two pieces, trapping the paper between the two plastic shapes, allowing the child to use the edge of the shape as a guide as they cut around the outside of the shape. This method provides a visual and sensory feedback to the child working on their fine motor skills and learning to cut shapes.
In Alex’s case, he doesn’t have visual feedback, but the sensory feedback allows him to cut out shapes by himself, just like his classmates. The independence that he found by using Cuttables increased his self-confidence more than you can imagine, and the positive impact that this early success will have on his future is sure to be enormous. As his exclaimed after he cut out his first cirsle all by himself, :Hey, Alex! You did it! You really did it!”. Alex realized that he did do it, all by himself. And with that feeling instilled in his mind at such an early age, Alex will find many doors open to him in life – because he know he CAN do it!