[blindkid] an assistive technology related question

DrV icdx at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 3 15:59:11 UTC 2009

Hi Patricia,

I am the father of 2 braille readers - they use both English & Lithuanian 
braille. Vejas is 12 & going into 7th grade & Petras is 8 & going into 2nd 
grade. Both are doing well in school. Both use technology on a daily basis, 
as do we the parents to help provide them with braille. I have included 
links to 3 articles I have written that will hopefully give you a sense of 
how we have incorporated technology into their lives & how invaluable 
technology has been in this process.

Technology has helped enrich their lives and their exposure to braille. In 
fact there is no way my son could have read over 12,000 pages of braille in 
three months for the NFB Braille Readers are Leaders contest as a second 
grader had we not had access to interesting electronic books, magazines and 
other materials.

We have met & continue to have to deal with substantial resistance to 
technology along the way, including from our local TVI program. We 
eventually manage to work through these issues.

I should also emphasize that I would never downplay the importance of 
embossed paper braille materials. We also have a very large paper braille 
book/children's magazine collection. I would never promote the reliance on 
technology over embossed materials, but electronic access certainly can 
enhance exposure. It is much easier to edit homework electronically. Weather 
traveling by car or plane, my kids can take along "mountains" of reading 
materials on a trip on their tiny compact flash cards which takes up much 
less space than the embossed books. Imagine how many trees have been saved 
by not needing to have all the materials embossed. It is wonderful for the 
kids to be able to instantly look up definitions of words on the BrailleNote 
via the electronic dictionary.

There are certainly those that say technology gets in the way of the basics 
of learning formatting, speed, etc. Our experience as documented in the 
articles I referenced suggests the contrary. Furthermore, if you look at the 
kids who made it to the final round of the Braille Challenge, many, if not 
most of them, even the younger ones are actually quite good with at least 
basic braille notetaker technology 

Good luck with your project & please help change perceptions.

Eric V (a Dad)

1. Equal Expectations: A Belief Paradigm or Politically-Correct, Feel-Good 
Phrase? This is the text from a keynote address I was invited to present at 
the 2007 CTEVH Conference. 

2. Braille Literacy -- It's A Family Value. This is the modified text of a 
few presentations I was asked to give on the value of braille from a parent's 
perspective. (www.nfb.org/nfb/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=61&SnID=44365653)

3. Enriching Your Blind Child's Life via Foreign Language Braille:

Practical Suggestions for Families and Educators Seeking Out Foreign 
Language Braille and Other Foreign Language Resources with a Special Focus 
on Spanish

 (http://knol.google.com/k/eric-vasiliauskas-md-drv/enriching-your-blind-childs-life-via/2fo8us37li3cv/1#)----- Original Message -----From: "Patricia" <bcsarah.fan at gmail.com>To: <blindkid at nfbnet.org>Sent: Thursday, July 02, 2009 21:07Subject: [blindkid] an assistive technology related question> Hi everyone:>> I have been a member of this list for quite sometime now, but up to thispoint have been thoughtfully reading your posts and have resorted to beingthe shy observer in the back of the class *smiles*.>> I have a question that I feel could be answered by some of you, but Ithought I would introduce myself first.>> I am a university student hoping to graduate with my Bachelors degree thiscoming year. I am involved in my student union as well as spreadingawareness about Disability Services in my university, and have beengainfully employed for the last three summers between semesters in agovernment job.>> I have been totally blind since birth (with light perception) and as suchhave been used to using a variety of assistive technologies throughout mylife.>> I was recently asked by my disability services Advisor if I would be ableto assist in giving a presentation on blindness technologies used throughoutthe lifespan. The course involves looking at assistive technologies for avariety of disabilities across the lifespan, and is a 13 week course but Ihave been given an hour and a half to speak. I have a fairly good idea ofwhat is being used today, but being that I am not a young child or teenageranymore I don't know everything that is being used in the school systemstoday and was wondering if anyone would be willing to share with me whatyoung blind people are using these days. Gosh, that makes me sound old!*Smiles*. I have been asked to stick with technologies that people use whoare unable to read print effectively, so would appreciate any insights youcould share.>> I look forward to continuing to read the list, and helping out if/when Ican.>> Thanks in advance for any help.>> Patricia> _______________________________________________> blindkid mailing list> blindkid at nfbnet.org> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/blindkid_nfbnet.org> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info forblindkid:>http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/blindkid_nfbnet.org/icdx%40earthlink.net

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