[bct] Re: Web-Braille

  • From: "Joni Colver" <joni.colver@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 15:43:44 -0600

Interesting comments Buddy.  I think it is most important for a child to 
learn Braille because then they can learn spelling and punctuation.  A child 
who has never read Braille or print can't possibly learn those things well. 
I know my spelling improved tremendously when I learned Braille in eighth 
grade.  I learned Braille very easily and I still use it a lot.  When I 
picture a word or a phone number in my head I see it in Braille, not print. 
I know what all of the print letters and numbers look like, but, my brain 
sees them in Braille since I don't look at print words or numbers anymore.

I could not play Scrabble if I could not read the Braille letters on the 
tiles.  An adult who loses their sight might find Braille useful, but I 
don't think it is as essential.  If they can find other ways to keep records 
and label things it may not seem worth the effort to learn Braille.

I am so thankful I learned Braille though and I find it very useful.  I 
think not teaching a blind child Braille is doing them a huge disservice. 
Since I have a degenerative eye condition I think the powers that be should 
have taught me Braille much sooner, but, better late than never.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Buddy Brannan" <buddy@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 3:28 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: Web-Braille

Hi Jeff,

At this point, braille may not be of as much use to you, simply
because you may not have the motivation to learn it and stick with it
until you're good at it. This isn't any sort of criticism or any kind
of statement on your motivation in general, or your character, or
really much of anything else but a bit of conjecture, so I'll try to

I'm a braille user for a long time: I learned it, as most children
learn to read print, when I was a small child. Like in kindergarten
or something. Therefore, because I learned it early and loved to
read, it became second nature to me. Because it is, for me, truly a
medium of equal import to me that print would be to a sighted person,
I think many of its features are analogous. For instance, it's far
easier to skim a bunch of braille (again, if you've learned to use it
efficiently) than it is to do the same thing with an audible format,
such as a CD or even a text-to-speech computer. I think, too, that
learning braille can give one a real, tangible idea of how words are
put together, in a similar fashion that print does for sighted
people. If audio were good enough, I expect no one would need written
language anymore: let's face it, the technology's there to do away
with written language if we so desired. Since most people do not so
desire, clearly there is merit in written language, and that is no
less true for us than it is for the sighted.

Braille, in general, has some other advantages. Hardcopy braille
never runs out of batteries. It's fairly durable, so long as you
don't spill your drink on it or put a 40-pound brick on it, and it
allows you to file things without any additional technology (which
could be prone to failure).

Of course, braille has certain disadvantages, too: it's bulky and
takes up a lot of space...those are the chief disadvantages.

As far as reading, again, reading braille affords similar advantages
to us as reading print does to the sighted. For instance, with a
braille book, you aren't subject to the interpretation of another
person's reading to you. No matter how good a narrator is, that
person will put his own interpretation of a book into its reading. Of
course, you don't have this problem to the same degree if a computer
reads to you, but there's an intangible something about reading that
listening doesn't have at all.

Honestly, I think that if you take braille out of the equation
entirely, the question comes down to:

What are the advantages of reading over listening?

The question is the same for us as for the sighted, and so, I
believe, are the answers.
Buddy Brannan, KB5ELV       | Work from home the Watkins way!
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