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France’s Organisation for Blind and Partially Sighted Students (Groupement des Intellectuels Aveugles ou Amblyopes or GIAA) has marked World Braille Day (4 January) with the launch of a range of instructive anatomical 3D models.
The new range of models, developed in partnership with the Dassault Systèmes Foundation, will help train some of France’s 1.7 million blind and visually impaired to practise massage therapy as a profession.
Stamp - Louis - Braille - Inventor - Script
A Stamp of Louis Braille, the inventor of braille script on a commemorative stamp. Image via GIAA.
Education for the 6000 blind and severely visually impaired students in France is limited, with estimates suggesting that only 2% of academic literature estimated is available in braille or other alternate formats.
Professions - Massage - Therapy - Physiotherapy - Accessibility
The professions of massage therapy and physiotherapy have been championed for their accessibility to visually impaired students, since practitioners almost solely require use of the sense of touch. Consequently, visually impaired people constitute around 2,000 of France’s 85,000 registered massage physiotherapy practitioners.
However, when it comes to understanding the anatomy and physiology behind massage therapy, the GIAA found that tactile teaching resources for the blind and visually impaired were woefully limited.
Laurence - Massage - Therapist - Liège - Belgium
Laurence, a blind massage therapist in Liège, Belgium. Photo via TVA/La Nouvelle Gazette.
With the support of the Dassault Systèmes Foundation, an offshoot of 3D software company Dassault Systèmes that provides funding for research and educational initiatives, the GIAA has seat up a library of anatomical 3D printed models.
GIAA - Project - Director - Pierre - Vassal
GIAA project director Pierre Vassal noted that 3D printing made the models “reproducible in large numbers at a low cost.”
Thibault de Tersant, Dassault Systèmes...
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