Most teachers of braille and braille users have very defined ideas on the need to raise public awareness of braille and its benefits to those who use it. What is often not so clear is how teachers or individuals who are blind or visually impaired can meet the challenge of bringing to their communities an understanding of braille and its function as a primary literacy tool.
Here are some suggestions to help you plan some strategies for promoting Braille Literacy in your area. Good luck and have fun.
- Contact your local school board or neighborhood school, and ask if they would be interested in having you speak to students about braille.
- Offer to help local librarians create an exhibit of literature in and about braille.
- Inquire at your place of worship about making hymnals, newsletters, etc. available in braille. Be prepared to provide information on braille transcription services.
- Ask if you can address Sunday School classes, scout troops, service organizations, etc.
- Request braille menus at your favorite restaurants. If they are not available, ask to speak to the manager or, if possible, the owner. Explain why being able to read a menu independently is important to you or your many braille-literate friends; suggest where he/she can have the menus transcribed.
- Call your physician, dentist and local hospitals. Suggest that they make pamphlets, release forms and patient information available in braille. They may be interested, especially when you explain how much staff time will be saved when braille readers have independent access to vital information.
- Arrange to set up a booth at your favorite supermarket where shoppers can feed their curiosity about braille. Display brailling equipment, books and magazines (a typical print magazine becomes three to five volumes in braille).
- Visit local businesses and ask them to make their information available in braille. This could include price lists at the dry cleaner's schedules and services at the health club, the flavor list at your favorite ice cream parlor etc.
- Work with the operators of your local botanical gardens to identify the different varieties of flowers, herbs and other plants with braille markers.
- Contact your local, county or state representative, and ask if he/she would be interested in working with you to make their particular government building braille accessible--if it isn't already.
- If you are aware of a newspaper, radio or television reporter who has written or broadcasted disability-related pieces in the past, you may wish to contact him/her about the possibility of a feature on braille in general, or a particular braille related activity.
- If you should find yourself the center of a media event, be natural, be sincere and remember, no one could be better qualified to speak on the subject of braille literacy than you.
For AFB Press titles of related interest, see the AFB Store.