Two visually impaired siblings and Westminster students took the opportunity to test Mattel’s latest Uno Braille cards in hopes of adding more fun to other visually impaired homes.
Derrick, 13, and Meredith Day, 11, heard about beta testing for Mattel at a convention for the National Federation of the Blind in Las Vegas over the summer and decided they would be interested in giving the product a try.
“We basically said what we liked, what we didn’t like, we would basically change for the production,” said Derrick. “Technically, if you’re talking about manufacturing terms, that was a prototype, they hadn’t really started manufacturing them yet. So, they wanted us to give them almost like critiquing their design.”
Meredith and Derrick attend West Middle School, where they receive an education through the Carroll County Public Schools visually impaired program.
The Uno Braille cards were released earlier this month and are sold exclusively at Target.
UNO Braille packaging features Braille — a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired — on the front and back for clear identification, and directs players to UNOBraille.com, where they can find play instructions featuring Braille readable files for download. Players can also access voice-enabled instructions through Amazon Alexa and Google Home, according to a Mattel news release.
"With the launch of UNO Braille, we’re making a real impact on a community that has been underserved by providing a game that both blind and sighted people can play together,” said Ray Adler, Global Head of Games at Mattel via the news release. “We are proud to have UNO Braille on-shelves and to be making UNO more accessible and inclusive to even more families.”
Both Meredith and Derrick said they enjoyed beta testing the cards to contribute some fun to the blind community.
“When you think about a lot of games, and especially toys in general, there’s not many toys for a blind person,” said Derrick. “I heard this on a interview that they did with Anil Lewis, who is a member of the NFB, he said ‘a trip to the toy store for a blind person is not very exciting,' because you go and you’re like here’s a box and here’s another box and here’s a third box. There’s actually something to look forward to because you actually can buy something that you could use and that you could apply to yourself.”
Derrick and Meredith are pleased that the cards are all-inclusive, so both those who are visually impaired and those that aren’t can play together.
“It’s very cool that everyone can see this because now they know that there are blind people out there that want to play and interacting with people just like the sighted world does,” said Derrick. “So, I think it’s cool that they’re allowing us to do that without having to buy special cards or make them ourselves.”
Added Meredith: “One thing I really like is they’re going to make it available to everyone, not just blind people. They’re not going to be showing it, like, on a special website or whatever.”
According to the Day siblings, they are declared as legally blind, meaning that they can see outlines of certain things in certain lighting but they can’t see the other details such as facial features or words on a page.
“Both of them are Braille readers, they attend general education classes with typical peers and their work is adapted for them into Braille; it’s also adapted as auditory materials as well,” said Colleen Donaldson, teacher of the visually impaired.
Derrick likes to code and even created an app to help him study. According to Donaldson, both siblings are very bright.
“He is a brilliant young man, his sister is also very very brilliant,” said Donaldson. “The entire family has embraced their ‘disability’ and they don’t let their disability stop them from doing anything.”