Updated Apr 13, 2023
Goal: To raise awareness of special needs in order to increase understanding, sensitivity and acceptance of those with disabilities.
Braille Name Plaque
Enjoy your unit’s usual opening. Discuss how some people have permanent health-related conditions that cause limitations or obstacles in their everyday life. Some disabilities are visible to others, while others can be invisible from the outside.
Children with disabilities want to be included and to have friends, just like everyone else. A disability or illness is only one aspect of a person and once you get to know someone with special needs you will find that there is a lot you can have in common. Discuss how no one likes to feel different, and that the more we can learn about what it’s like to live with a disability the more sensitive, helpful and considerate we can be.
Braille is a system of lettering used by people with poor vision for reading and writing. The system of signs is formed by a combination of 1-6 raised dots arranged in a small, rectangular area called a braille cell. There is one cell for each letter, punctuation mark, number sign or capitalisation sign. A blank cell means a space between words. Blind people read braille with their fingertips. Vision impairments range from things that are correctable with glasses such as being short-sighted or far-sighted to more serious problems that cannot be improved even with surgery such as partial or complete blindness.
One player is chosen as “It.” “It” is blindfolded and tries to find and tag the other players without the use of vision. Instead, “It” must locate players with the use of sound. The player who is "It" shouts out "Marco" and the other players must respond by shouting "Polo,” helping “It” to tell where they are. The other players should try to get as close as possible to “It” without being caught. If a player is tagged then that player becomes "It.”
Sign language is a system of communication used by people with hearing impairments. It involves visual gestures and signs expressed through the hands and face and perceived with the eyes. Fingerspelling is the process of spelling out words by using signs that correspond to the letters of the word. The Fingerspelled alphabet consists of 22 hand shapes that represent the 26 letters of the English alphabet when held in certain positions and/or are produced with certain movements.
Have the group follow the attached alphabet chart and act out each of the letters. Then, give them the attached exercise sheet to practice recognizing the shapes by decoding the colour words.
Visit your local library to find a book or two to read to the group such as My Friend Is Blind, My Friend Is Deaf, or My Friend has Dyslexia by Nicola Edwards, Extraordinary Friends by Fred Rogers, The Story of Tyler and His Wheelchair by Kamee Riggio Heelan, Arnie and the New Kid by Nancy L. Carlson or Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis.
Congratulate the group on learning about what it is like to have an impairment that doesn’t go away and how to communicate with and be a friend to those with special needs. Enjoy your regular Closing.
Appendix images taken from the Instant Meetings for Brownie Guiders booklet, created by the 1999 BC Guider’s Conference.