Perkins School for the Blind has a new look and a streamlined name, officials announced today.
The school based in Watertown that serves the blind and vision impaired in 70 countries around the world will now simply be referred to as "Perkins," announced School President Steven Rothstein.
“We are no longer just a small school for the blind in Watertown, Massachusetts; we are a global NGO with considerable reach. We constantly work to ensure that the 4.5 million children in the world today who do not go to school simply because they are blind or deafblind get the opportunity to get an education,” Rothstein said.
A new logo was official unveiled today, too, although passerbyers may have seen the new logo on the school fence for a few weeks. The new logo incorporates braille and reflects Perkins’ advocacy of literacy through braille.
“High-tech tools are wonderful, but I cannot imagine children who are sighted being asked to rely solely on technology in lieu of reading a book and writing with a pen and pencil. Why then would it be okay to say a child who is blind no longer needs to learn braille?" Rothstein said.
At the ceremony, the school also showed off the Perkins SMART Brailler, a braille writer that for the first time ever gives sighted users equal access to the information available to users who are blind, according to school officials.
The new device uses computer technology to allow users to get audio and visual feedback coupled with hard copy braille output. This combination allows sighted parents and teachers to know what is being brailled in real time, making it possible for someone who does not know braille to participate in teaching someone who is blind how to read and write, according to school officials.
“The SMART Brailler will revolutionize how many children with visual impairments are taught, especially those in public schools or other learning environments where they may be the only student who is visually impaired," said David Morgan, vice president & general manager of Perkins Products. "It means parents in a remote location can help teach their child to learn to read and write braille, even if they have never learned braille."