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

Aziza C daydreamingncolor at gmail.com
Sun Aug 30 03:33:51 UTC 2009

Its possible I'll need help. I'll keep you in mind and let you know soon.

On 8/29/09, tina thomas <tinadt at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Are you going to need any help with your table Aziza?
> Tina
> "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
> brochures.
> Aziza
> 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"
>> <writers-chat at nfbnet.org>; <jdeden at cocenter.org>; "Joy Hu"
>> <jhu1706 at verizon.net>; "National Association of Blind Students mailing
> list"
>> <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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