Auditory skills are critical for persons who have visual impairments. I had to acquire auditory skills in college. I had access to braille texts throughout elementary and high school. In college I had no braille books. My first semester was very tough. I actually made my first C. I kept falling asleep listening to taped texts. I had to learn how to take notes from the recorded books. Even if I had had braille texts it would have been difficult to read 15 or more texts for one course alone. The fastest I ever read in braille was 150 words per minute, and this was for material that was for leisure. If I had to read for recall for tests my rate was 120 words per minute. During the second semester I picked up my skills. I would listen to texts in 45-minute segments and take a break for 10 minutes. I read that the brain fatigues after listening for 45 minutes. It’s true in my case.
Since college I have worked for 38 years and use recorded material, a screen reader and braille which I produce for my own notes or translate material for my use. I can listen to recorded material at a rate of 500 words per minute. I still read braille for pleasure. I download books from NLS onto my PDA to have something to do while waiting for transportation, at doctors’ offices, etc.
I advise TVIs to have students use recorded texts for one class each school year from seventh grade through high school
By Diane Brauner