Visually Impaired Adults, Let's Talk Braille with Parents of Visually Impaired Children
by Shannon Carollo
You likely know January 4th is World Braille Day, as it is the late Louis Braille’s birthday. (Happy birthday, Mr. Braille. We think you’re pretty great.)
For the past several World Braille Days, I have written to parents of blind or visually impaired children via the FamilyConnect Blog in hopes of educating them (particularly parents of blind babies who are recently immersed in our community) on braille and its value to folks who are blind or visually impaired.
I talk about the gift of furthering independence braille provides. I discuss the statistics regarding adults who are blind or visually impaired who extensively learned braille in early childhood; they are more likely to be employed than their visually impaired peers who struggled through learning print. I continue with an overview of braille and share how braille is taught and how parents can help the learning process at home.
I wonder, as adults who are blind and visually impaired, many of whom have mastered braille and many others who have little exposure to braille, what you would add.
- If you have mastered reading and writing braille, how has it shaped you and offered independence to you?
- If you have not mastered reading and writing braille, do you feel you are at a disadvantage? If applicable, how do you believe mastering braille would be to your advantage?
- Lastly, what advice would you give parents regarding literacy for their children with visual impairments?
I can only imagine how weighty your words and experiences are to parents of young children and teens with vision loss. Would you please take a minute and share with the parents in the comments section? I’ll be sure to forward them your remarks.
Lastly, it’s not too late to learn braille. If you’re ready to learn it, here’s what you should do:
- Read about learning braille as an adult
- Read personal stories about learning braille with low vision
- Discover the importance of braille literacy skills on the path to employment
- Visit AFB's directory of services to find a local agency offering braille instruction
- When you're ready, explore AFB's Product Database to find refreshable braille displays, braille printers, braille translators, and other braille devices
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