[blindkid] braille?

Jen and Bill O'Neill jenbilloneill at cox.net
Fri Feb 20 05:43:24 UTC 2009

Hi, Marie.

My daughter, Camille, is 4 1/2 and is learning print and braille at the same 
time.  Her VI is from ROP, so we're coming from a slightly different angle 
and we're not sure how long she will keep what she has--no crystal ball 
here.  Smile.  She has only a limited amount of vision in one eye but is 
extremely visually curious, and she picked up on print reading very quickly. 
She is infatuated with the alphabet.  Our concerns are the fear that print 
will not, in the long-run, be efficient or comfortable enough for her to use 
for large volumes of reading as she gets older AND the fact that she seems 
to have patchy vision that makes the process of writing very difficult. 
Thus, we pretty much planned on Braille all along and thankfully haven't had 
any trouble getting her the braille services she needs.

I will say that it is more time consuming to teach a dual media learner, and 
this in itself is sometimes daunting with a young one when you've got lots 
of moving parts--but it is well worth it.  Camille is so visually curious 
that it was a bit difficult early on to get her to buy in to braille, and 
she is still ahead in her print reading skills because it is her preference, 
but she has made tremendous strides in her braille skills in just the past 
few months and now enjoys it and asks to "work on it", especially the 
writing part.  She can braille over half of her alphabet and braille many 
words and can recognize about 10 letters consistently--though she is reading 
more in print right now, she is catching up and we will continue to 
encourage both until she is able to discern for herself what works the best 
for her.  I am so glad that we are doing this now---I would hate for her to 
have to start from scratch learning braille when she is older and needs to 
be using it to acquire information.

Just my two cents.  Hope this helps.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marie Smith" <empwrn at bellsouth.net>
To: <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 4:52 PM
Subject: [blindkid] braille?

> Hello everyone, thank you for all the warm welcomes. First, let me 
> introduce
> us a bit more. We live south of Birmingham, AL. Our son, Jack, was born 
> with
> Apert syndrome. He is developmentally delayed in several areas. He is 
> three
> and a half years old and currently attends an inclusive preschool that is
> part of our local school system. Next year, this inclusive preschool will
> not be an option for us because our local school district is changing 
> their
> policy regarding children with special needs. Next year, Jack will attend 
> a
> private daycare/preschool with consult services from our local school
> district. At 4, he will re-enter public school for kindergarten or so we
> plan.
> Okay my first question is a big one. I see a lot of stuff about kids 
> needing
> to learn Braille when they are young. Jack at three and a half years old 
> is
> just learning his letters and the sounds they make. Jack's vision is not
> expected to get any worse than it currently is. His visual impairment was
> caused by optic nerve damage that was caused by pressure on his brain from
> hydrocephalus. He now has a VP shunt. The low vision rehabilitation
> specialist that we saw mentioned Braille because Jack is a fairly tactile
> learner anyway. I mentioned to my husband that I saw some information 
> about
> children learning to simultaneously learn to read Braille and print. He
> seemed resistant to the idea. Can someone please tell me if this is
> something that we need to discuss and get started on now? Is the school
> obligated to provide someone to teach Braille? What issues are there that 
> I
> need to be aware of regarding the learning of Braille?
> Thanks in advance!
> Marie Smith (mother of 3 year old Jack)
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