[bksvol-discuss] Re: Braille

  • From: "Kim Friedman" <kimfri11@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2009 23:34:10 -0700

Hi, Valerie, I disagree with your thought that you were not articulate. I
think you are very passionate and articulate on the subject of literacy.
Thanks much for what you had to say, particularly your experiences with
children receiving books. I also would say that nobody grows away from
loving to hear stories well told or being read to. Sure I can read books
myself and I like doing so, but at one time, say about the time of the
nineteenth century, people had to find entertainment where they could, and
since there was no radio or TV, and if you couldn't afford to go to the
theater, people would read books aloud. I know a guy who invites people to
come to his house, and everybody takes turns reading a book aloud. I was so
impressed about this. He wanted to read what he considered classic
literature. I like the idea of a reading party. I wonder what fellow
Booksharians might think of the idea of meeting each other and reading a
book together. O, well, just a thought. Our tastes in reading are probably
quite disparate. Regards, Kim. 

-----Original Message-----
From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Valerie Maples
Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:37 AM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Braille

I am so glad you brought that up, Kim! I think Braille is the equivalent of
why I feel so strongly about having Bookshare text files available to people
with physical disabilities. Too often nowadays because of the wide
availability of audio books no one is teaching children with significant
disabilities how to read. To me that is a travesty in the extreme. There is
something very different between having literature available to you and the
act of reading. And, for many young children, especially those with multiple
disabilities, we can forever affect their ability to not only write, but to
communicate effectively. Because blind people have the ability to speak, in
most cases, that gap is not as great as it is for people with disabilities
such as cerebral palsy who may be considered nonverbal. If they are never
given an opportunity to read, then they most certainly will never learn to
write. If they never learn to read or write, communication becomes
infinitely more difficult.

I guess in the end, what I want is the spectrum of opportunities for all
individuals. There is certainly a wonderful place for text to speech and
audio books, as well as Braille and electronic text. In the end it is a
win-win situation if there is a full spectrum of options available. I would
be devastated if Bookshare ever decided to drop Braille availability just
because it was difficult or there was a smaller constituency. If anything,
this is a great opportunity to encourage people about why Braille should
survive. I was so glad to hear that they are expanding their research and
how to make Braille text more functional for the Braille readers. Like I
said, it equates to my desire to have text files available for Doug and
Nichole.

I know I am not very articulate when it comes to this subject, and perhaps
Doug will chime in, but I have a passion for improving literacy
opportunities for all individuals. For example, the young lady who helps
Nichole has three small children all of whom have some issues. Her oldest is
eight years old and is legally deaf, but has a cochlear implant. For years
the speech pathologist she went to didn't want the family to learn sign
language so that the child would be forced to talk, and now they are trying
to play catch-up now that they realize she would benefit from multimodal
communication including both sign and speech. Her youngest two kids had
never really had any exposure to books, and when her newly five-year old
entered kindergarten a couple of weeks ago, they saw a lot of behavior
issues that are related to frustration from expressive language delays (my
assessment). I gave the kids some books this week, and the results have been
absolutely fascinating! Not only are they carrying the books around
everywhere showing them off to everyone they meet, but they can't get enough
of showing someone that they can read. Talk about an incredible blessing to
all of us! And all because I decided to volunteer here and saw a need for
more children's books.

I agree with the others that there will always be a tremendous need for
volunteers, because we can plant seeds not only within the collection, but
within the world we touch.

Take care!

Valerie

Check out my kids at:

  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nicholemaples <new>
  http://www.caringbridge.org/ms/nicholemaples
  http://www.caringbridge.org/ms/cindymaples
  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jorgemaples

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:bksvol-discuss- 
> bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Kim Friedman
> Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 8:25 AM
> To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: braille
> 
> Hi, Elizabeth, I think it a downright shame that blind kids are given 
> the impression that Braille is of no use to them, ergo, they needn't 
> bother learning it. This is insuring that blind people are, for all 
> intents and purposes, becoming functionally illiterate, a thing I 
> think sighted people tend not to recognize, since they see print as 
> meaning literacy. I think it imperative that folks understand that 
> Braille is another means of literacy equivalent to print. I am bugged 
> that Braille is being short-changed. I hope you forgive the rant here, 
> and I bet you feel as strongly as I do on the subject. subject can be 
> taught well or ill depending on the instructor.
> I don't know if Gwen is a recent Braille reader or not, but I don't 
> wish to see anyone being cheated out of anything that could enrich 
> their lives.
> This
> thing with me and the computer is a case in point. If I had had a 
> computer with a screen reader back in the '90's when I was going for 
> computer instruction, I would feel more confident and competent as a 
> result. I would have not felt so intimidated by the sheer notion of 
> buying a computer.
> I
> still don't know what I'd ask for, but since I'm getting computer 
> instruction and have learned a little more than I knew last year, I 
> may have a general idea of what I want. If we get the right kind of 
> help which enables our progress rather than causing us to flounder 
> about and stumble, I say that's what we all need, good teaching and 
> support. Enough of rant (smile). Sorry, I know you weren't probably 
> expecting me to indulge in an outright peroration here. I just dislike 
> it when people get shoddy advice or shoddy help. Take care and very 
> best to you. Have a good week, Kim.
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of E.
> Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 5:58 AM
> To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [bksvol-discuss] braille
> 
> Kim, Ann is correct in pointing out that if you have the newer mpower 
> you do not have to rename the file. You can read a .xml file in 
> internet Explorer.
> By the way, so good to hear one braille reader encouraging somebody 
> relatively new to braille.
> I love and have always loved good audio. I use all kinds of speech 
> every day.
> My parents would let me listen to Talking Books after I had studied my 
> braille when I was six seven or eight.
> Because they insisted, I became a good braille reader.
> I know things may be different for somebody who comes to braille later 
> in life.
> I also know encouraging somebody on that learning curve may make a 
> difference for that person.
> The more you use braille the easier it becomes to use. It's like 
> exercising.
> Encouraging each other is always good. (smile) E.
> 
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