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Connect the Dots: Light & Shadow

A standing man and a seated woman show a seated young girl and a kneeling man a colorful image of a cartoon dinosaur on the Jupiter’s screen.

The second festival in our education series, Connect the Dots, powered by PNC Foundation, “Light & Shadow,” took place on February 17th at the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. The event was in conjunction with the library’s “Glow in the Dark Preschool Party” and had an amazing turnout. This glow-in-the-dark experience for preschoolers featured a silent disco room, hands-on learning activities, and every child got to take home a free book courtesy of the Jefferson County Early Childhood Regional Collaborative. The event was a perfect opportunity to help children learn about and understand the spectrum of blindness and low vision!

Often, when people think about blindness, they might picture total darkness, but this is not always accurate. People who are blind or low vision may be able to see some light, colors, and/or shapes. Everyone sees things differently! At this event, there were a variety of stations that helped families discover the science of sight, practice visual attention, and learn about tools which provide access to everyday information. The first station had a tactile model and tactile graphic of an eye that let participants learn about how the eye and brain work together in the visual process. Families also got to experience examples of different visual abilities by wearing the “See Like Me” glasses while playing “Find It” container games.

A little boy wearing a neon sweatshirt and glasses searches through a bowl of small plastic toys.

The second station let families utilize household items like hair gel, Ziploc bags, glitter, and small toys to create a visually captivating sensory bag to take home. They could then learn about  training visual attention by lighting their handmade bags and other visually stimulating materials on APH Light Boxes. Light boxes were also utilized at three other stations with activities that involved: putting together a mega-jigsaw puzzle on an oversized light box, tracing pictures on tracing half-covered light boxes, and colored overlays on a light box to teach about Color/Contrast as access tools. The final station used Magnification access tools such as APH Juno, Jupiter, and MATT Connect in a scavenger hunt to find words and images while reading books, magnifying distant images, and magnifying their own face.

Some of our volunteers included local community members who are blind or low vision. They were able to engage with families and help them better relate to the activities by sharing their firsthand experiences and stories. Their perspectives offered depth and authenticity to the discussions, ultimately enriching the experience, and ensuring that the event was truly representative of diverse viewpoints. All the Connect the Dots festivals and their activities are rooted in APH and The Dot Experience’s work for inclusion, accessibility, and innovation to make sure the future belongs to everyone. “The Dot Experience breaks down barriers and changes perceptions of blindness,” said Kathy Nichols, Senior Museum Educator of The Dot Experience. “Connect the Dots, powered by PNC Foundation, creates opportunities for children to explore big concepts like access, inclusion, and innovation through play focused on the real-life experiences of people who are blind and low vision.”

Learn more about Connect the Dots and don’t forget to check out the full list of Connect the Dots events!

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