According to the statistics of WHO, the number of blind people in the world will reach the value of 75 million people by the end of 2020. Impressive figure!
It is crucial to understand that with the help of sight a person receives 80-90% of the information about the world. Therefore, there is an obvious need to teach visually impaired people to read and write with the purpose of their integration into the society (with further employment).
Often the education of the blind is provided by special schools and boarding schools that appeared not so long ago.
Until the 18th century, there had been no schools for the blind. Only in 1784, Valentin Haüy founded in his house the first school for blind children. Pupils were mostly homeless. In St. Petersburg, teaching and educational institution for the blind was opened in 1803 on the initiative of Alexander I. After some time, Alexander I approved charter, budget and staff of St. Petersburg Institute for the blind. This event can be regarded as the starting point of the history of schools for the visually impaired in Russia.
Today training of the children that have problems with eyesight in Russia extremely lags behind American and Western European practice. Abroad, people with vision problems are active; they can earn their living without specific problems. Thus, Berlin Research Commission has made a list of 122 occupations for the blind, most of which involve working in a major industry.
It should be stressed, that teaching children Braille’s system has its specific features. For successful mastery of the reading and writing techniques preliminary preparation is crucial. Namely, it is necessary to develop the sense of touch since childhood.
But surely the most impressive example of a harmonious life for people with visual impairments is the German city of Marburg, the so-called capital of the German blind. There the majority of blind people move rapidly around the city, blind kids go to the stores, to the cinemas or to a disco alone. The pride of the city is its school, named after Carl Strehl, in which the method of co-education for the blind and visually impaired children is implemented.