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RI bomb squad designs special Easter eggs for visually impaired children

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By MICHELLE SAN MIGUEL, WJAR

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) - Hunting for eggs is an Easter tradition, but it can be difficult for children who are visually impaired.

Members of the Rhode Island Fire Marshal's Office stepped in to fill a void and built Easter eggs - that beep - for children who are blind.

Several members of the state’s bomb squad assembled the eggs Monday at the Rhode Island Fire Academy in Exeter alongside teenager Jalen Rodriguez, who is visually impaired.

Rodriguez told WJAR he knows how important the eggs are for children with disabilities.

“As a kid, I used to be a part of family Easter egg hunts. It feels very, you feel very excluded,” Rodriguez said.

When you flip the switch, the egg sounds like a smoke alarm is going off.

Donna Mitchell, an orientation and mobility specialist with the Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College, said the eggs are also teaching blind and visually impaired children an important skill.

“[They are] learning to recognize sound and where it's coming from,” Mitchell said. ”Learning to listen for traffic and learning how to cross the street.”

Colorful Easter eggs may be a new tool for the bomb squad, but they're used to working with switches and batteries. They jumped at the chance to use their skills to help kids.

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“When they approached me, I thought it was something really good that we can do for the community,” said Rhode Island Fire Marshal Timothy McLaughlin.

The International Association of Bomb Technicians donated the eggs. They'll be given to visually impaired children in Rhode Island to use for their Easter egg hunts.

The state fire marshal's office wants to make it an annual event.

Rodriguez said he hopes it reminds others not to unintentionally exclude people with disabilities.

“It's quite honestly kind of sad how a lot of things like this fall through the cracks when it comes to accessibility,” Rodriguez said.

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