Mandy Lau designed the Reach & Match® Learning Kit during her postgraduate research, and is designed to be an education kit to empower children with special needs and facilitate an inclusive education setting.
Celebration of Braille
The first issue that Mandy aims to tackle is the global decline of Braille. The main reasons include a law that took effect, that moved thousands of children from specialised school for the blind to mainstream schools. At these mainstream schools, there are inadequate qualified teachers and equipment to teach braille, as well as social and cultural barriers over how blind children should be educated. However, not only is Braille an ingenious and efficient way for blind people to read and write, it is also crucial to their career and independence. Hence, the first question was raised in her mind:
“Early braille education is crucial to a child with vision impairment, but how do we encourage them to learn and appreciate Braille?”
Essential Skills for Children with Special Needs
In addition to blindness and sensory impairment, lots of children she has worked with also have additional disabilities; such as developmental delay, i.e autism as well as other cognitive, social and communication impairments. Hence:
“The design provides functional training, which is the first step for disabled children learn alternative skills of independence and also helps them achieve their full productive potential.”
A Social Inclusive Tool – Fun for All
While social inclusion is a shared goal and vision in special education, not having enough teachers, resources and attention amongst the schools means that there is not the necessary help required for disabled children to be included in mainstream education.
“Therefore, the design provides a fun and friendly platform that bridges the gap between abled and disabled children.”
Mandy has developed different prototypes of Reach & Match® for field-testing, and she collaborated with specialists, educators and parents to improve and modify the product. Activity booklets are in development for teachers and specialists to apply Reach & Match into their teaching. It is really exciting to bringing Reach & Match® to every part of the world where the children would be benefited.