Gracie Benedith-Cane on empowering blind and visually impaired through Braille Code Inc.
"The people who are creating or doing things, they're not really thinking about visually impaired or blind people."- Gracie Benedith-Cane
Editor’s note: October is Blindness Awareness Month.
Gracie Benedith-Cane is empowering and encouraging independence for those who are blind and visually impaired through her company, Braille Code Inc. The mission is dear to her heart because her 15-year-old son, Wani Benedith, was born with Septo-Optic Nerve Dysplasia. The condition is called septo-optic dysplasia because of the underdevelopment of the optic nerves and problems with the septum — leaving him legally blind.
Through Blind Code, Benedith-Cane wants to shed light on the inconveniences that visual impaired individuals face that the sighted world may not think of, then create change.
“We are so behind on things that blind and visually impaired people need when it comes to clothing, when it comes to products, when it comes to books, even them having the accessibility of that, it’s few and far between,” Benedith-Cane tells theGrio.
The CEO is making the changes she wants to see. She wrote a book titled: “What’s Cool About Braille School?” that follows three characters who are friends and are learning, adapting and creatively growing in their blind and visually impaired world. They care for one another while overcoming their special needs.
Benedith-Cane also invented a patent for her own braille labels to put on clothing and footwear.
“I’m implementing this because it’s a great need,” she asserts. “My braille labels consist of right and left and it has a number system for pairing. So let’s say a blind person who is going to get their shoe or they’re messy and they can’t find their shoe — it has the number system with it: R1- L1, R2-L2, R3-L3.”
“It’s a number system that doesn’t end,” continues Benedith-Cane. “It’s actually a dual directional queue label for people who are visually impaired, people who are blind, and even for children who are learning how to put their shoes on. Sighted kids can actually use it as well by looking into the label and seeing the R and the L. They can put it together.”
Benedith-Cane’s advice to parents who have children who are legally blind and wonderfully made like Wani Benedith and want to give them independence: “It’s so scary to free yourself from that,” she reveals.
“With the visually impaired child, you have to even kind of push back a little more, to be honest. When it comes to that, I want parents to know, don’t worry about what people say. Forget about what society is thinking about your child. Focus on your child. And back away at the same time. You know, give them their space. And I promise you, as a parent, when you do that, when you allow your child to be themselves, and to allow them to be more independent little by little, by showing them the way and then falling back, you’ll be shocked at how much they can show you their capacity.”
Check out the full interview above.
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