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Introduction

Persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments can take part and benefit from activities like Sports, Hobbies and other physical activities, these activities are a good way to increase the verbal, social, and mobility skills of children with Visual Impairments. Being active in music, clubs, sport and other after-school programs can help the child to strengthen language skills, gain physical agility as well as confidence, and understand social situations. Parents and teachers who push students with visual impairments to have as normal an experience as possible not only help them gain skills and develop self-reliance, but also help other students understand how to work with people who are different. Adults who are Blind or have Visual Impairments, also benefit from Sports and Hobbies, as these activities not only help prevent depression, but can also help them to meet other people and remove some of the stigma associated with having a disability. Many Sportsman with Visual Impairments inspire others and help society learn about persons with disabilities.

Some Sports such as Swimming, Judo and Athletics don't require adapted equipment but some Sports and Hobbies require the assistance of adapted Sports Equipmentor Aids so that Persons with Visual Impairments can take part.

Sports Equipment / Aids

Sports that include adapted equipment include: Goalball, Football, Cricket, Showdown, Golf, etc. Many of these sports are ball sports and are played with balls that have been specifically made to make a noise to help Persons with Visual Impairments to detect them. Below is a list of some of this equipment, which is available in South Africa from companies such as Edit Microsystems.

Edit Microsystems: is a leading supplier of educational and corporate technology solutions in Southern Africa. Edit MicrosystemsEdit Microsystems aims to find alternative, cutting-edge ways to improve teaching and learning in the education sector and to improve business communication in the corporate sector. Edit Microsystems provides services to educators; education departments; corporate social investors; parents; other government departments and corporate managers. Through on-going support and professional development, Edit Microsystems can help find the right solution for your particular environment.

Edit Microsystems have various branches around South Africa including Cape Town. You can contact them on: Tel: (0)21 433 2520 or email them at: info@editmicro.co.za. You can also visit them at their offices in Cape Town at: Unit 601,The Point Shopping Centre (Galleria), 76 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town, 8005 or visit their web site to find out more: www.editmicro.co.za

Audible Basketballs

Audible Basketballs are used in a variety of Sports for Persons With Visual Impairments, this includes Basketball and Netball for the Blind. These Audible Basketballs have small bells in them, which makes a jingling sound when bounced, this helps Persons With Visual Impairments to be able to hear where the ball. There are a variety of different types and sizes of these Basketballs that are sold in South Africa including the following Basketballs made by Handi Life Sport, which are sold by Edit Microsystems.Audible Basketballs

They include the:

  • The Size 5 Basketball: This Basketball is an Orange Rubber Sound Ball. This is a Junior basketball, which is orange and rubber and is a size 5, with a weight of approx. 530 grams and has a clear jingling sound. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.
  • The Size 7 Basketball: This ball is a sound ball, which is orange and made of rubber, and weighs 660 grams.  The Basketball has a clear jingling sound and is a normal size basketball. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Audible Cricket Balls & Other Cricket Equipment

Cricket for the Blind is played in South Africa and has a couple of adaptions in terms of equipment. The major adaptation is the ball, which is significantly larger than a standard cricket ball and filled with ball bearings to provide audible cues. The size of the ball allows partially sighted players to see the ball and the contents allow blind players to hear it. The wickets / stumps are also larger and are made of metal tubes and painted in fluorescent colours, to allow partially sighted players to see them better. Blind players touch them in order to correctly orient themselves when batting or bowling.

Audible Soccer Balls

Persons with Visual Impairments can play Soccer, with support and training. A “a jingling or rattling ” ball can allow the player to know where the soccer ball is. A coach on the sidelines shouting clear instructions can also help players, while a raised edge around the field can help players notice when the ball goes out of bounds. Blind Football is variation of Futsal designed for players who are Blind or Visually Impaired, it is currently a Paralympic Sport and the ball that is used has been modified to make a jingling or rattling sound. There are a variety of different types and sizes of these Audible Soccer balls that are sold in South Africa including the following which are made by Handi Life Sport and are sold by Edit Microsystems. They include the:

Audible Soccer Balls Jumbo ball: This ball is made of fine imitation leather and has a good rattling sound. It is red and white in colour and is 29 cm in diameter and weighs 640 g. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or to receive a quote.

Medino Sound Ball: This ball is made from fist class imitation leather and has a good grip and a fine rattling sound. It has a new attractive design and is 21 cm's in diameter and weighs 430 grams. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or to receive a quote.Soccerball with rattling sound

Soccer Ball With Rattling Sound: This Soccer Ball has 4 sound devices and is a size 5, it comes in different colours and designs and looks like a normal football but is audible. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Edit Microsystems also stock other balls that can be used for Soccer or Football, these include:

Petito Foam: Petito Foam is a multipurpose ball that can be used in many kinds of activities. This soft and friendly little ball has rattling bells and is well suited for everyone from small children to seniors.  The ball can be used in many kinds of play and games. Petito Foam is manufactured from pure PU material and is filled with acrylic wool. The ball measures approximately 13 cm in diameter, but is not 100% spherical. The weight of the ball is approximately 200 grams. The ball is soft and spongy and will not hurt anyone, this also makes it easy to throw or roll and easy to grab & hold. It has a pleasant rattling sound and can be used in different indoor environments, as well as outdoors in dry conditions. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Futsal Ball

Futsal is a variant of football played on a hard court, which is smaller than a football pitch and mainly played indoors. It can be considered a version of five-a-side football. Futsal is also played with a smaller, harder, low-bounce ball. The surface, ball and the rules, favour ball control and passing in small spaces. There are a variety of different types and sizes of these Futsal balls that are sold in South Africa including the following which are made by Handi Life Sport and are sold by Edit Microsystems.Futsal Ball

They include the:

  • The official football for the blind: This Football is the official football for 5-a-side football for the Blind. This Futsal ball with bells is made according to IBSA standards by Handi Life Sport. It is a size 3 and has low bounce and an excellent rattling sound, with 6 sound devices. It is made from strong imitation leather and has a circumference 60-62 cm. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.
  • Yellow Futsal Ball for Blind: This Yellow Futsal Ball is made by Handi Life Sport and has a good rattling sound and is a size 3. It comes in different designs and is a good budget ball for Blind football. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Goal Balls

Goalball is a team Sport designed specifically for athletes with Visual Impairments. Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents' goal. This Sport is played indoors, usually on a volleyball court. Players must use the sound of the bell in the ball to judge the position and movement of the ball. Eye shades allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with Blind players. Eye patches may be worn under eye shades to ensure complete coverage of the eye, and prevent any vision should the eye shades become dislodged.Goalballs

A non-official ball of about 0.9 kilograms has been produced by several companies for use by younger players but the official ball weighs 1.25 kilograms and has eight holes and contains several noise bells. The ball's diameter is approximately 24 centimetres. These Goal Balls are available and are sold in South Africa from companies such as Edit Microsystems. This Goalball is blue and made from rubber by Handi Life Sport according to IBSA standards. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Showdown Balls

Showdown is a Sport for Persons who are Blind or are Visually Impaired. It is similar to air hockey, or table tennis and is growing very quickly around the world. It is also played by sighted players, but they are not allowed to participate in the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) tournaments. Showdown is comparatively inexpensive to start up and requires minimal maintenance. It can be played in a room the size of a classroom. The only equipment needed is the specially designed table, two paddles, a special ball into which Ball Bearings have been inserted to make it audible. Opaque goggles and a glove are also used to protect the batting hand. The table can be disassembled and stored away after play if necessary. Showdown Balls are sold in South Africa by Companies such as Edit Microsystems, which sell the following:

Showdown ball: These Sound balls are yellow and made of plastic with a diameter 6 cm and a weight 30 grams. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Torball

Torball is an indoor ball game for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It is played with a 500-gram rubber ball fitted with interior bells, and the players wear face masks. Each team consists of three players that must stay on their half of the court at all times. Goals are located at both ends of the court, and the players must guard these goals to prevent the opponent from scoring. In front of the goals, there is three parallel ropes suspended 40 cm above the floor; the ball must roll under these ropes without touching them in order to score a goal. Torballs are sold in South Africa by Companies such as Edit Microsystems, which sell the following:

Torball: This Torball which is red and made of rubber, has a clear jingling sound and a diameter of 21 cm and weighs 500 grams. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Hobby Aids

Hobby Aids are adapted equipment that are used to assist Persons With Visual Impairment or who are Blind to still continue to enjoy Hobbies like Sowing, Cards and Board Games. Due to the variety of different types of Visual Impairments, there are also a variety of different types of Hobby Aids or Equipment that can assist. Below is a list of some of this equipment, which is available in South Africa from companies such as Edit Microsystems and Ability Assist.

Card, Video & Board Games

There are a variety of different types of Games that can be played by Persons With Visual Impairments or who are Blind. These Games have been altered slightly to include Braille writing for Persons who are Blind, or larger printing for Person who are Visually Impaired and are able to see to some extent. Some of these games can also be played on a computer using Computer Aids to assist.

Low Vision, Large Print & Braille Playing CardsLow Vision, Large Print Playing Cards and Card Holders

Larger cards can be easier to handle and see, Card Holders which takes large or standard-sized cards can be useful for holding and sorting your hand. Large Print Playing Cards are sold in South Africa by Organizations and Companies such as The South African National Council for the Blind, Edit Microsystems and Ability Assist.

Edit Microsystems stock Cards which have larger printing to assist Persons With Visual Impairments who have some vision.
These Easy To See Coloured Playing Cards and Holders: have large letters and numbers which measure 40mm in height. Each suit has a different colour of black, red, green and blue. The card packs come with a holder which can hold up to a full deck of cards. The card size is 63mm x 88mm. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more or receive a quote.

Ability Assist stock: Large Print Playing Cards: This set of plastic coated playing cards has larger letters and numbers compared to normal cards, making it easier to read. You can contact Ability Assist to find out more or receive a quote.Uno & Braille Playing Cards

The South African National Council for the Blind sells Uno And Braille Cards: Uno is a family card game that comes in Braille for greater accessibility to all players. You can contact the South African National Council for the blind to find out more or receive a quote.

If you are unable to play the actual versions, there are also computerized versions of Card Games. Some windows operating software comes with a variety of card games, or you can download many different games for free or play online. Many of these games can be played by yourself or against others. You can visit www.gamblers007.com or www.izzygames.com to see the rules and to find out what other card games are also appropriate for both children and adults. Many of these games can be played by yourself or against others. Online Poker is also available on a number of sites. Visit www.gamingzion.com to find out where.

To find out about Computer Aids that can assist you to be able to play these games online visit our section on Computer Aids.

ChessChess

Chess is a board game played by millions of people worldwide, including Persons with Disabilities. It is normally played between two players on a chessboard but Multiplayer Chess is available and some Chess boards are available to accommodate 3 or 4 players. Chess is played on a checkered game board that has 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. Each player begins with 16 pieces, including: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn. Persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments are able to play Chess thanks to equipment such as braille Chess boards, which is sold by companies and Organizations such as The South African National Council for the Blind. These chess boards make the game easier for Visually Impaired players, as the chess pieces fit in to holes on the playing surface to avoid being knocked over. You can contact South African National Council for the blind to find out more or receive a quote.

Persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments are also able to play Chess on their computer using various Computer Aids that can assist them. You can either play against a computer by visiting: Play Computer Chess, or you can play online against other players, by visiting: Chess On-line. To find out about Computer Aids that can assist you to be able to play these games online visit our section on Computer Aids.

ScrabbleScrabble

Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by placing tiles bearing a single letter onto a board divided into a 15×15 grid of squares. The tiles must form words which, in crossword fashion, read left to right in rows or downwards in columns, and can be defined in a standard dictionary. Persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments are able to play Scrabble as it is played on an easy-access rotating game board with low vision game tiles and bold black extra-large half-inch high letters on a white background. This game is available from Organizations such as The South African National Council for the Blind. You can contact South African National Council for the blind to find out more or receive a quote. There are also a number of web sites offer the possibility to play Scrabble online against other users, such as the Internet Scrabble Club and www.pogo.com  To find out about Computer Aids that can assist you to be able to play these games online visit our section on Computer Aids.

Sudoku Touch

Puzzel's such as Sudoku Touch are great games for persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments. Sudoku Touch is a puzzle and number game with both braille and large print suitable for persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments. The South African National Council for the blind sells Sudoku Touch Games. You can contact South African National Council for the blind to find out more or receive a quote.

Super Big BoggleSuper Big Boggle

Super Big Boggle features a super-sized 6 x 6 grid and includes the NEW double letter cube and blank cube for more interesting game play. This game is suitable for persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments and is sold by Organizations such as The South African National Council for the Blind. You can contact South African National Council for the blind to find out more or receive a quote.

Horse Riding & Equestrian Equipment

Horse riding is available for the Visual Impaired in South Africa as: a sport, hobby and as two forms of therapy, known as Horse riding Therapy and Hippo Therapy. Working with horses can have a major physical and emotional impact on people with a wide variety of issues and disabilities, including Visual Impairments.

Persons who have a Visual Impairment are able to learn to ride or drive independently and compete in equestrian events, they may also participate as part of a vaulting team. Strategies to help persons with Visual Impairments include, use of intercom systems with the instructors, learning to count steps/strides, or auditory markers in the arena. Other Horse Riding and Equestrian Equipment include Saddles, etc.

Music Players

Listening to Music & enjoying Television, Movies & Sport are all Hobbies that can still be enjoyed alone or in a group by persons who are Blind or have Visual Impairments. These activities offer a great way to escape from your troubles for a couple of hours & can be both entertaining & inspirational. Thanks to a number of Assistive Devices supplied by Companies such as EditVictor Reader Stratus4 Daisy MP3 player Microsystems these activities can be made easier to enjoy. Below are a number of these Music Aids that are available:

Victor Reader Stratus4 Daisy MP3 player: This Victor reader is a MP3 Player, which is ideal for playing both music and audio books. It is easy to use and has a user friendly simple interface with 4 navigation keys enabling direction to desired chapters, pages, sections, paragraphs or tracks. The DAISY, MP3 audio books and music CD’s can be to be played through the reader stratus 4, it also bookmarks important locations in each type of book, music file or text document. The built-text to speech (TTS) feature allows the user to make a copy of text documents and then replay it through the built-in speaker or headphone output. It also comes with optional features which makes easy accessibility to most important buttons with the optional keyboard cover. Those who prefer an even simpler operation, use the optional keyboard cover that makes only the most important buttons accessible, and thus simulates a conventional cassette recorder. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more about this product and the other features it has or to receive a quote.

Victor Reader Stream CD Accessory: This  Victor Reader Stream CD Accessory is a device that plays CD’s onto a portable audio playback device. It is an easy way to transfer a collection of CD’s onto  a single portable audio device without using a PC.
The device is ideal for users who do not use a PC. The device is a perfect solution to transition from using VR Wave to VR Stream.
The CDCD player accessory especially designed to be used with the VR Stream. This product includes a power adapter and a D-Shaped USB cable. You can contact Edit Microsytems to find out more about this product or to receive a quote.

Max glasses: Max Glasses are binocular telescopic glasses which are perfect for watching TV, sporting events, movies, theatre, bird watching, or any other distance viewing activity. These binocular telescope glasses will focus on objects from 10 feet to infinity. They are available from Companies and Organizations such as the South African National Council for the Blind. You can contact the South African National Council for the Blind to receive a quote or find out more about them.

Beamz

Use music to enrich the lives of people of any age or physical ability. The Beamz is a sophisticated but easy to use system of laser beam controllers combined with interactive music, allowing anyone to make great sounding music with a minimal learning curve.

Beamz is an interactive music system that uses lasers to trigger musical instruments, sound effects, songs and more.  The Beamz was purposefully designed to address the needs of students with physical, cognitive, and learning disabilities, as well as students with Autism.

Beamz In Inclusive Education
The Beamz has been used in schools to teach learning concepts, implement therapy protocols and as a sensory solution for children with Autism.  Teachers use Beamz to teach everything from basic concepts like directionality and counting, to site words and safety sign identification. Beamz Laser Controller is constructed in such a way that students who are blind or visually impaired can navigate easily.

Beamz In Therapy or Rehabilitation
Beamz is a revolutionary new way to implement therapy protocols. Children, Adults and Seniors are motivated by the use of music to achieve their goals.

Beamz in your Sensory Room
Beamz is the perfect menu item for many students’ sensory diet. Each child has a unique set of sensory needs.

Beamz At Home
Beamz can be used as a fun family activity.  Beamz is just plain fun. Anyone can compose their own original song mixes, record their performances and share with their friends and family through audio devices and social media.  Beamz interactive song library covers a wide range of music genres—blues, pop, country, rap, classical, jazz, rock and many more.

Download the Beamz Flyer: Beamz Flyer_final

Sowing & Needlework Equipment

Persons with Visual Impairments can still continue to enjoy Sowing & Needle crafts, but they may need the assistance of a few Assistive Devices, or some simple modifications to continue to create the beautiful things that they can use themselves or give as gifts to friends and family members. If you have low vision, you can continue doing needlework by hand using adaptations such as large needles, thimbles, special threading devices, enlarged patterns, dark pattern lines, and a stand magnifier. For machine sewing, needle guards will ensure safety and accuracy, while a Colourina helps to identify different colour fabric. Much of this type of Equipment is available in South Africa from organizations and companies such as the South African National Council for the Blind and Ability Assist.

The South African National Council for the Blind and Ability Assist both sell Needle Threaders, which includes the Threading Helper:

Threading Helper: This Needle Threading Threader with magnifier is specifically for users with weak eye sight or with use of only one hand. They help with the threading of the needles and are 115 x 65 x 75 mm in size and only weigh 50g. You can contact Ability Assist to find out more or receive a quote.

A Colourina: The South African National Council for the Blind sells an Assistive Device called a Colourina which identifies colours by holding it against fabric, and a voice identifies the colour. This Assistive Device is useful in Sowing and you can contact the South African National Council for the Blind to receive a quote or find out more about them.

Reading Aids

Reading is a wonderful hobby and very inexpensive, it provides many benefits and is a hobby that can still be enjoyed by persons with Visual Impairment or even persons who are Blind. With the help of Assistive Devices called Reading Aids, books & reading can still be enjoyed. There are variety of different types of Reading Aids, including Braille Books for Persons who are Blind and able to read braille, or Audio Books for Persons who just wish to enjoy a book. Some Persons With Visually Impairments can read large print books which are available in South Africa, while others can use audio books, if you would rather listen than read. Both Audio and Large Print Books are available to rent from many Libraries around South Africa. It’s also possible to purchase books on tape or download them from the internet- often for free. Computer Aids also assist Persons With Visual Impairments or who are Blind, to be able to enjoy and read books on their computer screens or other electronic devices, while as magnifying equipment can be used to zoom into to make printing in books larger to make it easier for Persons With Visual Impairments to be able to read. To find out more about Reading Aids and the different types of Reading Aids that are available from Companies in South Africa, visit our section on Reading Aids.

References

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