Tactile Carnival raises the awareness of sensory disabilities


Children playing at the Cleveland Museum of Art during the Tactile Carnival.

Tracy Wang , Staff Reporter

On November 4, the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), gave visitors the chance to experience the life of deaf and blind people at their Tactile Carnival.

The carnival was a collaboration with the Cleveland Sight Center, Community Center for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing, Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Northeast Ohio Deaf-Blind Association and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.  

The event provided participants with a sensory experience featuring a wide range of adopted tabletop games designed to simulate the life experience of deaf and blind people. CMA encouraged participants to think about the difficulties that deaf and blind people encounter in real life.

The event was open to everyone, regardless of disabilities. The organizers made efforts to take care of both adults and kids. They set up a play station for kids where they could play building blocks and walk on colorful plastic rocks. People of all ages had fun playing the various games that offered abled people the opportunity to empathize with the blind and deaf.  

To emphasize the sense of touch, participants were asked to cover part of their face, sometimes wearing a blindfold during games. One of the most popular games was the harvest toss, where participants threw plastic fruits and vegetables into a bucket while wearing a blindfold. Visitors had to use a walking sticking to perceive the position of their target. Touch Tetris, an activity based on the famous video game, let visitors use their hands to feel the shape of colorful blocks and put them together on a board to create horizontal lines of ten block units without gaps. Both games aimed to let participants experience how a blind person functions in day-to-day life.  

The event promoted useful classes and educational resources for people with disabilities. In the braille name game, participants were asked to write down their name on a sheet. After the name was typed onto a laptop, participants put their hands on a special machine and felt their name in braille. The Ohio Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled said they want to let people who are physically disabled know that they offer a great variety of reading services, including audiobooks and printed braille magazines.

At the end of the event, registered attendants were able to join a lottery to win prizes ranging from Amazon Echo devices to Target gift cards.