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Friends Create a Braille Birthday Book for a 10-Year-Old

A mother shares ideas to create an accessible braille book of messages from friends, along with fun games at a birthday celebration for a 10-year-old boy who is deafblind.

This year for my son’s birthday, we sent out invitations for his party at the park.  I asked that, if people wanted, for them to email me a birthday message for Liam to make into a birthday book at the party.  Once they emailed me the messages I then printed them off on a braille embosser.  At the party, all of his friends and family were able to give him the page with the message on it.  We collected them and made them into a birthday book for him to enjoy.  

if you don’t have an embosser or you’re not fluent with braille, you could ask your child’s TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired) for help.

Materials 

  • Braille embosser or brailler 
  • Book binding machine (most schools have these or I found mine on Amazon, where it was fairly inexpensive) 

Invitation

Birthday invitation
Click on sample invitation to download in Word format.

Text of invitation:

We will ‘party’ sun or rain! There will be pizza and cupcakes.

Special Birthday Message:

We will be making Liam a special birthday book.  If you would like to, please email Sandy (Liam’s mom) at _________________ a birthday message for Liam.  Sandy will print it off on the braille embosser and bring it to the birthday party for you to give to Liam.  At the party Liam, will gather all of his ‘messages’ and we will bind them into a book.

Message ideas:

Messages could include a fun story or memory of you and Liam.  Messages should be around 5-10 sentences in length…. don’t forget to add your name. 🙂   

The Party

Many of the kids who attended the party have known Liam since kindergarten and they’ve been learning sign language since then.  They often play alone with him at recess, they read together and do work together. It’s awesome! 

Boy signing with his friends
Boy signing with his friends
Reading birthday messages
Reading birthday messages

This year I’ve been able to go in their class and teach them some braille.  My mom bought them each their own slate and stylus for their party bags. And I got to teach them a lesson on using it at the party. They were soooo excited and awesome little braillers! 

A girl practices using a slate.
A girl practices using a slate and stylus.
A boy practices using a slate.
A girl practices using a slate and stylus.

Messages

We put together all of the messages on individual pages in the birthday book.  Here are a few examples.

Braille message in birthday book
Braille message in birthday book

Text:

Happy Birthday Liam.  You are the best brother!

Love, Finn

Birthday message
Birthday message in print and braille

Text:

Happy 10th birthday Liam.  I love you and I love being your mom.  I am proud of you Liam.

You are a happy kid and you make me smile.

Love, Mom

Text:

Dear Liam,

Happy Birthday! You are a very good friend. I really enjoy being your friend. I think it’s great how you are always happy and are not afraid of doing hard things.

You inspire me to always look at the world in a different way, and to picture things the way you might. I hope we can keep being friends next year in 5th grade.

Happy Birthday, _________

Birthday message
Birthday message in braille

Text:

Liam,

I will never forget…

Teaching you braille and to understand the dots, the words, and their meanings. 

I will never forget…

Teaching you how to know where you are at, where you are going, and how to get there with your long white cane. 

I will never forget…

Teaching you to use the computer.

I will never forget…

Teaching you about life. 

Most of all, I will never forget you as a person. 

Remember to always do your best.

Work hard and be faithful to God and Family.

Teacher Joe 

Braille message for birthday book
Birthday message in print and braille

Text:

Dear Liam,

Happy 10th Birthday!  I hope this is an amazing year for you and I hope all your wishes come true.  

Do you know what I like most about you?  You are a happy person and you make everyone around you happy.   Every day when I pray, I say, “Thank you for Liam Kenrick.”   

I love to watch you learn new things and I am so proud of you.  Right now, I’m making a proud face:)

Thank you for being 10 and thank you for inviting me to your celebration.  

Much love from Mary ____

Braille message in birthday book
Birthday message in print and braille

Text:

Liam is a lot of fun and he is a very nice kid. I am amazed at how fast he can learn peoples’ name signs. He is a very good friend to play with at recess.  We have fun playing with balls, going down slides, and rolling down the hill at the soccer field.  He is very kind to all the kids around him. I love learning sign language.  I’m glad to be his friend. 

At the end, we collected all of the pages and bound them into a book.

Liam's Birthday Book 2019
Liam’s Birthday Book 2019

Funny Bowling

In addition to having lunch and practicing writing with the slate and stylus, we also played some games.  One favorite was “Funny Bowling”, where everyone took turns choosing a card and reading in print or braille what the directions said.  Of course they loved following the silly directions, like this example, “Bowl with your head.”

Funny Bowling
Funny Bowling
Bowl with your head
Bowl with your head

  

Collage of birthday book

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