[Nfbc-info] Attention: Parents, Teachers and Supporters of Young Blind Children strugglingwithliteracy

tina thomas tinadt at sbcglobal.net
Sun Aug 30 03:17:46 UTC 2009

Are you going to need any help with your table Aziza? 

"Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own instead of
someone else's."
- Billy Wilder

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbc-info-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbc-info-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Aziza C
Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:12 PM
To: NFB of California List
Subject: Re: [Nfbc-info] Attention: Parents,Teachers and Supporters of Young
Blind Children strugglingwithliteracy

I think that could be a good idea Mary. Thank you. Do I need to do anything
to make this happen?
Kevin will be unable to attend, but I have all I need to make a booth work,
including a set of Tack-Tiles, and a Braille Teaser Puzzle, plus some

On 8/29/09, Mary Willows <mwillows at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Yes, they are wonderful.  I have seen them at CTEVH.  Do you or Kevin 
> want to have a booth at the state convention?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Aziza C" <daydreamingncolor at gmail.com>
> To: "Blind Professional Journalists List" <journalists at nfbnet.org>; 
> <cabs-talk at nfbnet.org>; "fRHQuackenbush"
> <RHQuackenbush at brailleinstitute.org>; "General Discussion List for
> <writers-chat at nfbnet.org>; <jdeden at cocenter.org>; "Joy Hu"
> <jhu1706 at verizon.net>; "National Association of Blind Students mailing
> <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>; "NFB of California List" <nfbc-info at nfbnet.org>; 
> "NFB Science and Engineering Division List" <nfb-science at nfbnet.org>; 
> <NKStreeper at brailleinstitute.org>; "Performing Arts Division list"
> <perform-talk at nfbnet.org>; "Romero,Marc" 
> <marc.romero at ouhsd.k12.ca.us>; "Sports and Recreation for the Blind
Discussion List"
> <sportsandrec at nfbnet.org>; "Veee Girl" <veeegirl at gmail.com>; "Writer's 
> Division Mailing List" <stylist at nfbnet.org>; "Youth outreach projects 
> Support List" <youth-outreach at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 2:25 PM
> Subject: [Nfbc-info] Attention: Parents,Teachers and Supporters of 
> Young Blind Children struggling withliteracy
> How many of us have struggled through comprehending Braille upon first 
> being introduced to it. How many of us have watched another child 
> struggle through the attempts to comprehend Braille upon their first 
> few encounters? Reading is difficult, especially at first. It isn't 
> often a child will "want," to sit still and turn the pages of a book 
> for an hour when the alternative is running outside, or watching 
> television. Parents, teachers, supporters, and even the children 
> themselves understand these struggles. And so does this man who gives 
> this account.
> Kevin C. Murphy
> Fourteen, blind since infancy, multiply handicapped, Kevin knew about 
> letters. Letters excited him in the way angels, UFOs, ghosts, and 
> monsters excite many of us -- lots of mystery, little practical value. 
> His favorite television programs, SESAME STREET and THE ELECTRIC 
> COMPANY mimicked Madison Avenue's technique of manipulating human 
> want. Kevin wanted to read. For this child, reading had to mean 
> Braille. Yet by 1981 "Braille" for Kevin, was a mispronunciation of 
> "fail." Preceded by dread, overshadowed by fear, each class was cursed 
> by confusion, each ended in depression.
> Ending six years of effort, Kevin's teachers abandoned efforts to 
> teach Braille to him. I believed that Braille was beyond Kevin's 
> grasp. Yet, a distant part of me raged against that illiterate life.
> Inwardly I hesitated to post full cost and cause to Kevin's account.
> Kevin -- and Heather, my adopted daughter -- were multiply handicapped 
> and blind. No fear, nor excessive concern about blindness gripped me. 
> My children were who they were, I saw nothing in need of fixing -- 
> except, perhaps, in the society that shunned them.
> I nursed a parent's terror of Braille, a thing so exotic, so beyond my 
> experience, that surely my ignorance of it can only damage my child. 
> But what harm could I do now? Kevin's legacy of Braille's letters, 
> alphabets, grief, effort, and failure were now discarded as junk. I 
> could do no harm.
> Kevin could, at least, learn that symbolic languages exist, function. 
> He might not read a book, but he might understand how others do that. 
> Many who've never piloted aircraft understand their workings.
> I searched for means such that Kevin might keep what literacy he had, 
> perhaps to re-shape that knowledge base a bit to make life less 
> confusing to him. The approach: "Hey Kevin, want to work with Dad?" is 
> not a proven winner with fourteen-year-olds.
> "Hey Kevin, want to work on Braille?" was a certain loser in that age.
> I mutilated Christmas toys, fashioned my first TACK-TILESR .
> Little building blocks became Braille cells. "Hey Kevin, guess what I 
> did to your LegoR blocks!" was as perfect a "come on"
> as any ever devised. I let his very annoyed half-wondering fingers 
> survey the damage thoroughly before accounting for myself -or 
> mentioning B-----.
> Then we built words and sentences on toy boards meant to serve as 
> front lawns. I was poorly prepared for the success of early sessions 
> with Kevin and TACK-TILESR . In that setting, failure meant only that 
> I would deny him his great pleasure of confiscating my TACK-TILESR , 
> forfeiting opportunity to lodge them onto his own board.
> Here Braille's challenge was a benign contest of human beings, fun, 
> much more to his comfort and liking. Braille was lodged in a world of 
> his own -- less like the adult's. He allowed me to tease and fence 
> with him around his knowledge and ability to use this new learning 
> tool. He revealed secrets about his unique learning style, remained at 
> task until I wondered if I had an attention disorder. Kevin's 
> instructor -- his father -- had not the beginning of an idea how to 
> proceed. That helped immensely. Kevin and the TACK-TILESR took 
> complete charge. Success, followed success in the wake of success.
> His teachers's earlier efforts finally bore fruit. Kevin was able to 
> read his grade one Braille papers by the end of that month.
> Nearly nine years would pass before another child would learn to read 
> with TACK-TILESR. Five more years beyond that would pass before we 
> could afford to make them commercially available in February, 1995.
> In March of 2009, I had the chance to meet Kevin Murphey, the 
> developer of Tack-Tiles. I stood before his table in a huge exhibit 
> hall marveling at how the product had evolved since I used them to 
> help me learn to read as a child. I was listening distractedly to him 
> deliver a sales pitch to the gentlman standing beside me. Explaining 
> his reasons for building the blocks in the first place, and remarking 
> that he'd never met another student besides his own son who had used 
> these products to learn how to read, although he'd sold many. I looked 
> up startled and turned towards him, hesitantly I put out my hand and 
> spoke up. "I learned how to read with these blocks." Kevin stopped 
> talking and turned to face me, surprise and pleasure in his voice as 
> he asked, "Really?" I smiled and I confirmed that I had. Idly I played 
> with his newest product, Braille Teasers, a sort of flat puzzle that 
> makes you think about where the letters can go provided one empty 
> space. The object is to get the board alphabitized without removing 
> the legos which is considered cheating. We talked and talked like old 
> friends, and then I asked if I could take a picture with him. He 
> agreed on the conditions that I email him a copy of the photo, which I 
> found to be a fair price.
> As I sat at National Convention I heard a constant message. We must 
> increase Braille Literacy. Our kids need to be taught Braille.
> Braille, Braille and more Braille. This brought a smile to my lips, 
> however, once I returned home I began to think. Braille Readers are 
> Leaders, Slate Pals, these programs reenforce Braille Skills that 
> children already possess, encouraging them to read. However, I have 
> yet to hear of a program geared towards teaching children Braille when 
> they know none to begin with. I called up my new friend Kevin and 
> launched in to my creative mode. My excitement prooved contagious, and 
> Kevin agreed to allow me a shot at promoting the product that made me 
> the Braille Reader I am today.
> Tack-Tiles are tiny lego blocks with Braille letters, contractions, 
> numbers, or music symbols on them, depending on which set you 
> purchase. Sets can also be purchased in different languages. This 
> product can be extremely benificial because children do not realize 
> they are learning. I would rapidly lose interest in my reading and 
> begin to build things with my legos, stopping in fascination as I 
> realized my house had words on the roof. These legos can hold a 
> child's attention routed to literacy without his or her knowledge, 
> thus providing them with more exposure and practice, and making 
> reading fun.
> It is my belief that organizations, and schools helping young 
> students, or students with multi-disabilities should own a set of 
> Tack-Tiles. If anyone has any questions or an interest in this 
> product, please don't hesitate to email me off list at:
> daydreamingncolor at gmail.com
> Or, visit the Tac-Tiles home page at:
> http://www.tack-tiles.com/
> Aziza Cano
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