Nonprofit helps blind people build LEGO sets independently

A Boston-based nonprofit helps blind and visually impaired people build LEGO sets independently using text-based instructions.

Bricks for the Blind has just had its status as a not-for-profit organisation officially confirmed. To celebrate and thanks to a large, anonymous donation, it’s also launched a new website with a library or more than 100 free text-based LEGO building instructions, designed to empower blind and visually impaired people to be able to build LEGO sets more easily.

The text-based building instructions are paired with assistive technologies like magnifiers and screen readers, so people with visual impairments can enjoy building LEGO sets on their own. Some of the sets featured range from small sets like 75363 The Mandalorian N-1 Starfighter Microfighter to more complex builds like 10315 Tranquil Garden.

“I was born blind,” said Matthew Shifrin, founder of Bricks for the Blind. “When I was 13 years old, a dear family friend took the time to write out text-based instructions so that I could build my first LEGO set. I was amazed and thrilled that I could build the set by myself! When she passed away, I made it my mission to carry her love and compassion forward by bringing her work to as many blind people as possible.”

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This echoes the LEGO Group’s own efforts to make its products more accessible to everyone, with the launch of 40656 Play with Braille – English and 40655 Play with Braille – French in 2023, soon to be followed by more languages soon after.

Commenting on Bricks for the Blind, Julia Goldin, LEGO’s Chief Product and Marketing Officer said: “Making LEGO play accessible for everyone is a priority for us and we’re extremely fortunate to have innovative fans like Matthew who go above and beyond to help ensure their love and passion for the brick can be shared with more fans.

“We’re excited that Bricks for the Blind is accelerating its fantastic work. Together with our LEGO Audio & Braille Instructions – which Matthew remains closely involved in – we hope our combined efforts will help blind and partially sighted fans feel more welcome and included in the LEGO universe”.

The development of Bricks for the Blind’s text-based building instructions is a collaborative effort between an international team of sighted individuals and members of the blind community. This ensures that Bricks for the Blind’s instructions create a satisfying building experience for visually impaired people. Bricks for the Blind is continually creating new text-based building instructions.

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Author Profile

Rachael Davies
Rachael Davies
I write about all the very best fandoms – and that means LEGO, of course. Spending so much time looking at and talking about LEGO sets is dangerous for my bank balance, but the LEGO shelves are thriving. You win some, you lose some.

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Rachael Davies

I write about all the very best fandoms – and that means LEGO, of course. Spending so much time looking at and talking about LEGO sets is dangerous for my bank balance, but the LEGO shelves are thriving. You win some, you lose some.

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