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Brazilian teacher helps deaf, blind friend follow World Cup

By Joel Landau
summarized by Joelle Chasse, staff writer

A sign language teacher named Helio Fonseca de Araujo (age 33) wanted to help his blind and deaf friend, Carlos (27) follow the World Cup. In a video that has now gone viral, Helio showed how he was able to help his friend of 9 years “watch” Brazil’s opening match against Croatia. He did so by constructing a miniature soccer field, which he moved his friend’s hands around on in order to allow him to experience the match.

According to Helio, Carlos came up with the idea himself. Helio looked up the standardized measurements for soccer fields in order to create a miniature version.

Carlos had normal vision until he was diagnosed with Usher syndrome at 14 years old. Ever since, he has gradually been losing his eye sight. Presently, Carlos can only see shapes and contours. Helio states that Carlos has not been able to watch a soccer match for two years.

With the help of another instructor, Helio tried some new techniques to include his friend in on the excitement of the World Cup.

“We want him to feel the same sensations that (people who can see and hear) feel,” Helio said.

Before the game began, Helio guided Carlos’ hands around the board, explaining to him what he was feeling. During the game, he moved Carlos’ hands around the board to show the position of the ball. The video shows Carlos and his friends reacting with disappointment when Croatia scored or when Brazil missed, and jubilation when Brazil scored and, eventually, won.

Helio has stated that he will be there to help Carlos experience all of Brazil’s games.

“When I posted the video, I was aiming to show that for everything in life there is a solution, so that other interpreters (can) use this with their friends or deaf and blind clients,” he said.

For the full article and to watch the video here.

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