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Parents' Perspectives on Braille Literacy: Results from the ABC Braille Study
Abstract: Structured Abstract: Introduction: Parents who were the primary caretakers of children in the Alphabetic and Contracted Braille Study (ABC Braille Study) revealed their perspectives about braille literacy. Methods: A 30-item questionnaire was constructed by the ABC Braille research team, and researchers conducted telephone interviews with 31 parents who were the primary caregivers of children in the ABC Braille Study. The questions investigated how often the parents read to their children, whether print or braille books were available at home, what their primary goals were for their children, and whether they knew braille. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Demographic information was also gathered and analyzed. Last, the parents were separated into two groups on the basis of the students' achievement, and data on the parents of the high-achieving students were compared with data on the parents of the low-achieving students. Results: The data from the interviews showed that the participants often read to their children and provided them with some braille books. The primary goals of the parents were that their children learn to read and write braille, and the parents indicated that braille would be the primary medium throughout their children's lives. Although many parents knew at least the braille alphabet (20 of the 31 participants), only 3 of the 31 indicated that they know contracted braille. The findings revealed a slight relationship between the parents' level of education and the children's reading performance. Discussion: The participants placed a high value on supporting literacy at home by reading to their children, learning some braille, and providing their children with books. However, the availability of braille books at home was limited in comparison to the availability of print books, and the participants' knowledge of contracted braille was limited. Implications for Practitioners: The involvement of parents is critical to promoting positive literacy experiences at home. Teachers of students with visual impairments are regarded as the primary support persons who provide resources for parents of children who are learning braille, including resources for learning braille and braille materials for use at home.
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