[blindkid] braille learning as fun!

H. Field missheather at comcast.net
Thu Jun 10 21:33:02 UTC 2010

Hello all,
It is best to teach your child braille using his fingers and not 
vision. Although he will be able to tell you the letters by placing 
objects into the correct dot positions by using vision, this is 
encouraging him to use vision to read braille. To train good habits 
from the beginning and to work on developing tactual sensitivity I 
advise that you use touch. You can play games where you use a 
sleep-shade and work with him using only his sense of touch for 
braille activities. Use his vision with the print letters if he enjoys 
that game. While those with some usable vision enjoy using that vision 
with braille, a child's enjoyment is not always the determining factor 
in best practice teaching methods. braille is a tactile system and 
should be used tactually if children are to learn to use it to their 
maximum advantage.


Heather Field

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Heather" <craney07 at rochester.rr.com>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2010 9:34 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] braille learning as fun!

One thing that might apeal to him would be making each dot a different
colour, but consistant within each cell.  For instance, dot 1 is 
always red,
dot 2 is always blue, 3, green, 4 orange, 5, purple, 6 yellow, and 
where there are no dots, black rings, empty and white in the middle. 
If he
is wanting to use his vision, you can encourage him to read Braille 
with his
eyes and fingers.  I was partially sighted, and I found it interesting 
look at Braille as well as feel it.  Labeling everything is a good 
idea, but
especially helpful would be play houses, castles, railroad sets, etc 
naturally have signs.  I.E. if you have toy trucks for him, have a toy 
sign, and braille that.  If there is a jersey number on an action 
figure he
has of a football player, label that in braille, and so on and so 
It's good for him to learn print, so don't descourage that, but pear 
Braille with it as equally important.  For Jeremy at least, he has fun
picking out the braille letter tile to go with the cut out shaped 
letter magnits, and the sounds.  Describing braille letters to him in 
of shapes might also be helpful if he is a visual learner, despite his
visual imparement.  For instance, W was never dots 2, 4, 5, 6 to me, 
it was
always a backwards R.  I would express the o u n d sign as a moved 
over K
and a d, as k is dots 1 3 and the part of the contraction proceeding 
the d
was 4 6.  Or, the lettersign was a lower moved over B to me.  It used 
piss off my vision teacher to no end, and had I had more confidence as 
child I would have told her to get over herself, as no student will 
think the same way the teacher does.  As a teenager, I made full use 
of my
vocabulary and put her in her place, explaining multiple intelligences 
learning styles to her, and she shut up, when I started using text 
intended for professional educators against her.  I digress.  Point 
that maybe putting Braille letters in terms of shapes he sees everyday 
help.  L is a line, g is a square, or a two by two lego, and so on. 
will start to look like pictures to him.  For instance, the word ice 
like a bridge with ramps at each end.  The word then when contracted 
like a cat's eye.  the name andy looks like a box when contracted, and 
so on
and so forth.  You can hide words in pictures made on a braille 
writer.  Not
just randomly writing them inside of the picture, but using the 
letters to
make up the picture.  For instance, the checkers on a table cloth in a
picture could be alternating g no g g no g, the slope of the roof 
could be
Is going up on the left and Es going down on the right, and Cs going 
the top.  Where lines and shapes link up words could be formed.  If he 
into looking for artistic forms and is a visual learner, things like 
might be really appealing for him.  You could make word and letter 
for him this way.  Also, scrabble boards and sudoku puzzle boards 
could be
fun places for him to play with the art as well as the function of 
One thing about print letters is that they can easily be made into 
three D
cut outs, whereas braille letters are harder to douplicate, as no 
letters, save lower case i have a seperate pen stroke anywhere in 
creation and can be made easily from one piece of wood or plastic, 
Braille letters such as K, U, M, X and so on are seperate groups of 
But a lot of them can be created with glued or screwed together wooden 
or lego blocks.  If he is a visual spacial learner then having him 
jump into
squares of a grid with the numbers of the dots, in the order to make a
braille letter might be fun, also having him and you and your partner, 
friends stand in squares to be the dots themselves might be fun.  Talk 
connections between how braille words look and what they mean.  For 
a sighted child might think that the word snake looks snakey because 
the S
looks like a squiggly snake, or the word boo! has Os that look like 
shape your mouth makes when you are yelling boo.  If you are creative 
will think of things in braille that look that way.  For instance, the 
push looks like a crane and hook on the right hand end, and cranes 
things, or the word fox looks on the right like a pointed fox's head 
into an opening, like a hole, or the word screech looks like the two 
Es were
running and then screeched to a halt, like people lean when they stop
quickly.  If you don't know Braille you'll have to learn at least 
grade one,
but I and you might both not see some of the things in words that he 
sees in
words.  A lot of the meaning making must come from him, but playing 
with the
shapes might help.  Finally, let him play with the letters in space. 
instance, he might turn words upside down or backwards to see if they 
anything.  He nmight take the J in Jack and turn it in ninety degree
intervals to get hack and dack and fack, of course he will have to 
non-words, but that is part of the proccess.  Have him flip Ms upside 
and turn them into Us and see how that changes words.  A lot of kids 
these letters, but a lot of research is finding that if you 
common tripping places early and encourage them to use compare and 
that it will actually be easier down the road.  Hope that helps.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marie" <empwrn at bellsouth.net>
To: "'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)'"
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2010 3:21 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] braille learning as fun!

> Hey Richard, can you give me some ideas of things that you did to 
> make
> learning Braille fun for Kendra. Jack needs letters 2 to 3 inches 
> high for
> near vision so I am definitely thinking he needs to learn Braille 
> and have
> put Braille in his environment with labels and such and we have
> Braille-Print books. However he is VERY attracted to print but 
> Braille
> does
> not seem to mean anything to him yet. It may have to do with (lack 
> of)
> fingertip sensitivity (have no idea how sensitive they are since he 
> is
> still
> learning to talk and this would be a difficult concept to discuss 
> with any
> 5
> yr old). He wants signs read to him and he tries to spell ALL the 
> time.
> Ideas?
> Marie (mother of Jack, born May 2005)
> Check out our blog at http://www.allaccesspasstojack.blogspot.com 
> for
> glimpses into our busy life with a boy who is busy growing and 
> developing
> in
> his own way in his own time
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org 
> [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
> Behalf Of Richard Holloway
> Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2010 11:48 AM
> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)
> Subject: [blindkid] Wii Thoughts
> I'm wondering if any of us has actually had "hands on" this device,
> and who among us has actually seen that video or had it described to
> us...
> From what I can discern, this "electronic cane" is basically a 
> fairly
> conventional cane with a chunk in the middle that has been replaced 
> by
> a pair of shafts with what appears to be some sort of a 
> motion-sensing
> device that hangs between the the shafts. I suspect it would feel 
> like
> a slightly awkward and heavier-than-usual cane. This is not some 
> crazy
> alternative-to a-cane contraption. It is also (from what I can tell)
> FAR closer to a typical cane than the Wii Guitar is to an actual
> guitar, for whatever that may be worth. Despite it's similarity with 
> a
> "proper" cane, it also does not appear to be offered as a 
> replacement
> to a cane in any way.
> My guess is that (much like with the knfb reader) among so many 
> other
> pieces of technology, over time the device would shrink and could
> ultimately feel (and in fact be) a typical cane that happens to 
> offer
> the features of a Wii input device as well. (Perhaps you could even
> attach a small device around a personal cane for this at some 
> point.)
> I keep hearing so much apprehension and resistance to what this 
> device
> claims to offer but no evidence that it really won't work or 
> certainly
> anything that shows this to be detrimental to cane travelers' 
> skills.
> What I did hear however, is that it apparently has inspired and
> pleased a number of the kids who have been trying it out. Again, I'm
> not picking up an anything bad there. I hear that some people
> apparently think learning to use a cane should NOT be fun. Well, let
> me tell you-- if my daughter thinks something is fun, she's going to
> do it a lot more often and a lot better than something she dislikes
> and I'm suspecting this is not unique to Kendra. In my experience,
> Kendra really enjoys reading and writing braille. She has fun doing 
> it
> now, because she actually had fun learning to read braille and it 
> has
> nearly always been associated with positive experiences for her. 
> Many
> of the ways she learned to read were very much game-like, Now she
> reads several years ABOVE grade level and she's only just finished
> first grade. Does anyone want to suggest to me that while it is okay
> if she enjoys reading NOW, she should NOT have enjoyed LEARNING to
> read? Does that make sense to anyone?
> I was recently looking at a braille compass in a store. Then I saw 
> an
> electronic compass. I don't know how well it works, but the concept 
> is
> interesting. So consider this-- put the electronic compass into a 
> cane
> which tells you which way you're pointing at will. Or why not a GPS 
> in
> a cane? Does that sound excessive or overly complicated? Well it may
> be, but what is much more likely is that things like this Wii cane
> could develop into something like a conventional cane (or cane
> attachment) with a bluetooth interface that could send whatever data
> the sensors in the cane are made to pickup, then you could interface
> that with whatever you wanted-- a compass system, a GPS, or probably
> any number of other devices.
> There was a time when telephones were not mobile, then some people 
> had
> the "crazy" idea of putting them in cars and then briefcases. Those
> became "bag phones" that became the "brick" cell phones which became
> pocket sized phones like many of us have now. Ultimately, a pocket
> phone can encompass everything from a PDA to a GPS system to a knfb
> reader and who knows what else?
> It looks to me like the Wii system, in many ways is actually at 
> least
> part of something somewhat like a simulator for cane travel. You can
> actually travel with it (at least a bit) but not in a "real world"
> environment. Well, the simulator concept is a proven one. People 
> learn
> to do all sorts of things in them all over the world. Often it keeps
> them safe, makes learning faster, and saves time and money. Again, I
> have trouble seeing the down side. Every time I get on a airplane, 
> I'm
> delighted to know the pilot may have spent a lot of time in a
> simulator AS WELL AS actually flying. All of that is hopefully 
> keeping
> me safer in the air!
> The NFB really is working towards cars that would be reasonable for
> blind people to drive on their own. Not just an autonomous vehicle a
> blind person could own and ride in, but one that my child might be
> able to get in and drive on her own one day. It troubles me to 
> observe
> other bashing ideas that may not only be useful and helpful right 
> now,
> but which may very well lead to all sorts of additional helpful
> technologies for all of our kids in the future. I hope we can all 
> keep
> this in mind when we're exploring and discussing new developments in
> technology.
> Once upon a time someone came up with a strange and awkward concept
> for sending messages that could be read in the dark in combat areas.
> It didn't work very well at all and it needed a lot of refining. I
> expect many people thought it was a ridiculous concept, and a waste 
> of
> time, but today I don't think so many of us would announce that
> Braille is a foolish or useless invention.
> Just my thoughts on the matter.
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