By Beth Sanderson
While a friend was helping me do some spring cleaning, we found a box of things from when I did my Orientation and Adjustment to Blindness training, including some of my Braille books. In an attempt to figure out what the books were, I read the first few pages, and decided if it was something I’d want to hold on to.
My friend was amazed at how quickly my fingers moved over the pages, and how I could make sense of what looked, to her, like randomly arranged dots. Now, I don’t personally think my Braille reading speed is all that remarkable, as I know I’m not as fast as I could be with regular practice, but I’m always happy for a chance to educate others. So, I took out my various Braille supplies, and sat down to teach her the alphabet
My friend proved to be a sponge, eagerly soaking up the information as quickly as I could teach it, and after only a few hours, she could reproduce the entire alphabet for me, using an egg carton and some golf balls. The next day, when she came over, I started showing her punctuations, and took down my Braille typewriter to show her how that worked too.
By the time she left that evening, she’d started to transcribe the first Harry Potter book into Grade 1 Braille. The next time she came over, I started showing her the slate and stylus, and even sent her home with one and some Braille paper to practice. I also showed her some of the Grade 2 contractions. Up to now, she’s been reading the dots with her eyes, as she didn’t think she could distinguish the dots with her fingers, but she told me the other day that she wrote out the alphabet with her slate and stylus, and has been practicing reading it with her fingers.
And, as icing on the cake, I knew her indoctrination was complete when she told me that she’d had a dream where someone needed some Braille transcribed, and she was able to jump to the rescue. Now, I’ll admit she’s still a novice as I haven’t taught her much Grade 2 yet,, and neither of us has learned the new UEB Braille but it’s made me proud to see how excited she is, and how quickly she’s picked everything up.