[nfbwatlk] Perkins Braillers

Mary Ellen gabias at telus.net
Mon Sep 13 11:38:21 CDT 2010

I'm writing to ask what may seem to be an absurd question. 
Is the Perkins Brailler still a useful piece of equipment?
The Perkins is obviously used by blind people who don't have access to
advanced Braille technology, but I'm particularly interested in the opinions
of those who use computer assisted Braille.
Though I have a Braille Lite and an embosser, I wouldn't want to give up my
Perkins. Its role has changed for me over the years, but I still find it
The question has arisen because of an accommodation assessment I just read.
The person doing the assessment described the Perkins as "akin to a 1950's
Underwood." He clearly meant to indicate contempt for such an antiquated
piece of machinery.
Perhaps I'm merely demonstrating my advanced age and Luddite tendencies, but
I cringe at the "If it don't have a computer chip, it ain't no good,"
I would like to compile a list of ways in which tech savvy blind people
still use the Perkins, as well as reasons why people have stopped using it. 
We're all familiar with "experts" who denigrate the slate and stylus. We've
done a very good job of countering their arguments, though the "experts"
still aren't listening very well. I believe it may be time for us to pull
together information and information on best practice once again. If I'm
right in believing the Perkins is still a useful tool, technology
consultants need to know it in detail. If I'm wrong, then it's time for me
to change my Luddite ways and "get with the program."
Please e-mail me at gabias at telus.net with your views.
Mary Ellen Gabias

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