Blind 8-Year-Old Girl Empowers Classmates With Braille Valentine's Day Messages

PHOTO: Amelia, 8, created braille Valentines for her second-grade classmates at a Seattle public elementary school for Valentines Day 2016. mack3r/Reddit
Amelia, 8, created braille Valentines for her second-grade classmates at a Seattle public elementary school for Valentine's Day 2016.

Amelia, a blind 8-year-old girl from Seattle, is flipping the script and empowering her fellow sighted classmates with braille Valentine's Day messages this holiday.

Using a Perkins Brailler, known also as "a braille typewriter," Amelia wrote individualized compliments for each of her second-grade classmates, such as "I think you're really smart" and "You're an awesome artist," according to her mother Gail, who asked ABC News to only identify her and her family by first name due to privacy concerns.

Amelia attached the personalized messages to pink hearts containing the word "love" spelled alphabetically and in braille, Gail told ABC News today.

Her husband Mike posted a photo of the handmade Valentines on Thursday to Reddit, where they've since gone viral, getting positive responses like "This is by far the most adorable thing I've seen on Reddit" and "As someone who is blind, you're doing it right."

Gail said it's been wonderful to see all the overwhelming support but she wants to emphasize that "Amelia is a typical, awesome girl who just happens to be blind."

PHOTO: Amelia, an 8-year-old second-grader from Seattle, is pictured here in an undated handout photo Family Handout
Amelia, an 8-year-old second-grader from Seattle, is pictured here in an undated handout photo

"She survived eye cancer as an infant, lost her sight, but she's just like everyone else," Gail said. "It's funny because people have such low expectations for her. They're surprised she can talk and do all these things, but it's not like blind people can't do them. They just do them in a different way."

The mother added her 8-year-old plays the violin, takes swimming lessons and is currently learning to ride a unicycle.

"If anything, I hope her story helps promote understanding and acceptance of blind children," she said. "I think sighted people don't get glimpses into blind people's world very often, so it's really cool this is creating conversations about blindness and braille and dispelling a lot of misconceptions."

Gail added that she hopes more people reading Amelia's story educate themselves about echolocation, a technique in which people who are blind use palatal clicks to navigate and "see" the world around them.

"Using echolocation and click sounds, she can walk down the street and tell, 'Oh! There's a tree!' or 'Oh! There's an alley" Gail said. "We've seen her gain so much independence and confidence through this. We're trying not to coddle her or treat her any different than her sighted 5-year-old brother. Amelia has unique challenges, but then again, so does every other child."

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