Re: To Braille or Not to Braille

?Moon writing? Forgive my ignorance, but what's that?

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From: "Harmony Neil" <harmonylm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2010 9:04 AM
To: <jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: RE: To Braille or Not to Braille

I know some older people or those who struggle to read braille because of a
lack of touch sensation do also use moon (a raised and very simplified
version of large print), but I know very few people who use it or read it.
I don't use moon because I can read braille just fine, but I can see where
it may come in useful for some people.

-----Original Message-----
From: jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Adrian Spratt
Sent: 21 October 2010 05:20
To: jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: To Braille or Not to Braille

Hi, Lynn and the list.

Reading everyone's perspective on this question has been thought-provoking.
For many of us, it isn't an either/or question. The part of the brain that
absorbs the basics of reading shuts down sometime before adolescence. As I
understood the research when I looked into it, this phase determines whether
we will best read by sight or by touch. For people who have never seen or
lose their sight during that window, braille should be taught. The enviable people I know who read braille fast learned it during that time. Those of us
who lost our vision afterwards have a harder time picking up the speed
necessary for extensive use, although it can still be useful for
note-taking, poetry reading, computer code and other purposes.

When I gained access to the written word on computers first via TeleSensory and since then with JAWS, I reveled in my ability to check spelling. I found that not only had I misspelled some words, but also mispronounced them. Any
word with a "v" or "be" was an adventure.

Blindness isn't an across-the-board disability. Each of us is affected
differently, and we adapt in our own resourceful ways. I agree that braille should be taught to young people and, ideally, to older people, but in each instance with different expectations. The ideology of braille can be hard to take for those of us whose ability to benefit from it is limited by age and,
in many cases, additional disabilities. When braille is a less viable
option, JAWS and, yes, other screenreaders give us the means to gain control
over spelling, among many other important facets of communication.


-----Original Message-----
From: jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Lynn Golightly
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 7:11 PM
To: jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: To Braille or Not to Braille

Hi Michael and List,

One of the aspects of my job at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped is Braille transcribing. I agree you can read one
letter at a time with JAWS and you can proofread that way. However, when I
proof a long document, I either need a Braille display or the hard Braille
copy. I could read the document one letter at a time after I use the
spellchecker, but that would take some time. I often find I miss errors in
my writing and/or transcribing when I do not either have a Braille display
or hard Braille copy. Often when I am reading a document sentence or
paragraph at a time with JAWS I would swear the document was error-free; I
find out most of the time I was wrong.

I am sure you can be literate with speech and other methods of learning.
However, for me Braille is like a sighted person's pencil and paper. I can
use it anywhere independent of carrying a note taker with speech. Braille
gives me so much more independence in the home with labels, and at work when
I need to write down a fast note or answer one call after another call.

I am afraid that due to the shortage of VI teachers and the lack of Braille
instruction for blind and visually impaired students, there will be people
who don't learn to be competent spellers or versatile money managers. For
me, Braille is the key to literacy and independence. I also utilize JAWS and all manner of electronic gadgets to augment my ability to perform my job and
live independently at home.

Technology and Braille make good bed partners in my opinion. If I had to
choose one over the other, though, I would choose Braille.

Vicky Golightly

-----Original Message-----
From: jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:jfw-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Michael Arnowitt
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 5:30 PM
To: jfw@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: To Braille or Not to Braille

I would say literacy is more a matter of how much time and effort you're
willing to spend. Jaws can spell out any word for you and speak punctuation. Whenever I hear a name on the radio these days now that I am blind I do get
curious as to its spelling, and I find knowing the spelling makes me
remember words and names much better. You don't even need to know any fancy Jaws command to read letter by letter, just put the cursor at the beginning
of the word and right arrow one by one. Jaws could be a way to increase
literacy, if you're willing to take the time.

I don't do texting, but from what I understand nobody spells out words in
texts, or intentionally misspells them, and these are mostly sighted people
working in a purely visual medium. It's part of the times, not just a
disease of the so-called illiterate blind. And I have heard some very good
writers say they proofread their writing by reading it aloud. I certainly
catch mistakes in my writing through Jaws' speech output. So to me, there's
really no superiority or inferiority to learning language by writing,
hearing, or feeling it. It's really more a question of do you have the
motivation and energy to make the effort.

Michael

Dave wrote: Jerry,

Good point. and to make another point that was mentioned in this forum, a
very important aspect to learning and reading Braille is in learning how to
spell.

I've seen far too many posters on various lists for the blind who are
writing at a 2nd grade level. It is clear to me that they are spelling
strictly based on how a word sounds

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