Learning Braille Made Easy, or At Least Easier
I grew up being one of those kids who fell through the cracks when it came to learning Braille. If I wrote with a thick black ink pen I could, very, very slowly, read what I wrote. I never could easily read large print. So, I did not read. I discovered talking books in my senior year of high school and really took off in the reading area. I was able to get by with the dark pen and wrote really large for communicating with myself.
When I was 30, I needed to stop being a stay-at-home mom and go out to find a job. I connected with services for the blind where I was living and was visited by a counselor. He brought me a deck of Braille playing cards, a Perkins Brailler, and a self-teaching book on Braille. They also signed me up for typing lessons.
There I was with this odd-looking machine and a book full of what may as well have been a foreign language. I was busy with three little kids and trying to sell my house and find a job. The idea of learning Braille challenged me. The idea of learning something so different felt like a way to remind myself that I could still learn. I already knew how to type and the lessons would just increase speed, while Braille, well, it was just a bunch of dots that felt impossible to learn. I have always been a sucker for a challenge.
Imagine if I had started to learn Braille today. I could learn on a brailler that talks to me. A nice gentle voice could encourage me and build my confidence. The new SMART Brailler® from Perkins Products makes me smile whenever I hear her talk to me. I have been listening to talking technology for longer than I care to talk about but somehow this is different. She looks like a standard Next Generation™ brailler with an adjustable screen on the front above the keys. On either side of the screen, there are a few buttons that let you set the voice and text on the screen so it works best for you.
Then as you Braille, she tells you what you have entered. Files can be easily moved to or from a computer. There are even lessons to help you through the learning process.
This device will catch the attention of children learning Braille and keep them going until, suddenly, they are writing on their own.
I might have been born a little too early; at least I get to share this product with other people.
Learn more about the Perkins SMART Brailler® at www.smartbrailler.org.