If Only I Had Braille When…

If only I had Braille when…I was a child learning how to read.

If only I had Braille when…my classes took turns reading out loud and I was skipped over because I couldn’t even read the large print books that the schools provided me.

If only I had Braille when…the waiter handed me the menu when I sat down with my friends at a restaurant.

If only I had Braille when…my kids asked me to read the signs on the trails where we were hiking.

If only I had Braille when…my son had a 102 degree fever and I had a brand new box of medicine and didn’t know the correct dosage to give him.

If only I had Braille when…I was reading the directions on the box of blueberry muffin mix.

If only I had Braille when…I wanted to read a nutrition label on a granola bar wrapper.

If only I had Braille when…my kids find a new book and want me to read it to them.

If only I had been offered Braille as a child instead of fighting to learn it as an adult.

If only Braille was as common as print.

If only all blind or visually impaired children were taught Braille so they wouldn’t have to struggle to read as adults.

Braille is something that I am very passionate about.  Tonight as I was reading my children their bedtime stories, I started thinking, “If only I had Braille when…”

Did you know that only 10% of blind or visually impaired children are taught Braille?

Did you know that as a child I struggle to read large print, falling behind in school, and working twice as hard as my peers to keep up?

Did you know that I didn’t fully become literate until the age of 23 when I finally learned Braille?

What if only 10% of sighted children were taught how to read.

I have to admit, I haven’t thought about these things quite as much in the last few years.  However, now that I am teaching my own daughter how to read and write, and now that I am personally transcribing many of the books that are on their bookshelves into Braille so that I can read to them because it is faster than waiting for new Braille/print books.  As a child, I used to wish that I could be either completely sighted or completely blind so that I wouldn’t have to be stuck in the middle, always having to explain my so called disability.

Now all I wish for is for more Braille.

More Braille for blind children learning how to read.

More Braille for blind adults all over the world.

More Braille.  More Braille.  More Braille.

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10 thoughts on “If Only I Had Braille When…

  1. What a great blog Terri! I never realized how difficult it was for you and other people with impairments. So great for you to put it out there!

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  2. Always enjoy your stories! Thank you for sharing! No matter the challenges, we all figure it out. I learn a lot from you and your family! Let’s me know how I can look at problems (for most) as challenges and lessons!

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  3. We live in a tiny county in rural Tennessee. When I realized my baby boy was blind, I began reading everything I could find to try and determine what would help him. I vowed that he would be given the gift of reading, no matter what I had to do to see that happen. It was not an easy task – he is the only braille reading blind child to ever attend school in this tiny county, and I won’t bore you with the details of what it took to get him the instruction he needed. Fast forward almost 12 years. He is an honor roll student, designated as intellectually gifted and last week won the Braille Challenge for our state in his division. ALL of his school materials are in braille and tactile graphics, though he does have enough vision and can read print as well (not enough for print to be his primary medium, but he likes to use zoom to read small amounts of enlarged print as well). How I wish all blind or low vision children were given the same gift their fully sighted peers receive- the gift to read a written language in the most appropriate medium for them.

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  4. I am studying to be a VI teacher. I want to thank you for posting this! I will definitely keep this in mind when working with my future students and pass it along to other teachers as well. Thank you.

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