[blindkid] learning braille & print?

Carly B barnesraiser at gmail.com
Fri Jun 29 18:37:25 UTC 2012

Hi Nicole,

My son is now 9 but he has a (corrected) acuity of about 20/200. We decided
dual reading was the best choice for him when he was in Kindergarten.

I think I would encourage you that kids are like sponges: they pick up
skills and attitudes easily, unfortunately the negative ones, too,
including the attitude about Braille: whether it is "hard" or "too much to
ask" or "unnecessary."

It helped, I think, that we had adopted our son from China when he was 5,
because he didn't have an easy life up to that point and didn't expect
things to be easy. (Things have changed. :) But even more than his own
attitude toward learning and work, is just the realization that around the
world, people really do expect more from their children than we do here in
America. They are willing to make a considerable effort to get an excellent

Okay, off my soapbox about that. Onto dual reading: our son has complained
about having to learn Braille (he realizes other kids don't have to) but we
have been pretty firm about it, and as it becomes easier he complains less.
We have also pointed out the advantages: reading Braille is a pretty
special skill because not many people have it, he is the only one in our
family and probably our community who can read in the dark, etc. It's been
fun to see him repeat these with pride to his brothers and others. :)

He does prefer print, and that's okay. I mean, he can have his preferences;
we all do. He tries to read pretty much anything he can get his hands on,
and with very little print instruction his skills are beyond his grade
level, while his Braille skills are right on grade level.

There have been plenty of people who have said that learning print,
Braille, *and* to speak English at the same time is too much, but our son
has not suffered from it, he has not been overloaded, and he now has a
useable skill (that he needs to continue to improve) that will serve him in
the future. And the future is coming pretty soon! I mean... he turns 10 in
a few weeks, and then it's a few short years until he's a teenager! Yikes!!

Has he complained? Yes! He also complains about eating vegetables, going to
bed, getting *out* of bed, taking a bath or shower, and anything else that
requires work. But having high expectations of him shows him that he is
capable of succeeding at challenging things. That's the message I want him
to inculcate.

I hope I haven't gone on too long. Best to you!

:) Carolynn aka "Brian's mom"

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 12:56 PM, Nicole Cannon <nicole at cannonig.com> wrote:

> My son is almost 5 with visual acuity about 20/200.  He can see large
> print, but I've noticed he seems to be a tactile learner.  I've been
> reading about learning to be a dual reader to give him the most tools, but
> I'm somewhat concerned about overloading him with too many things to learn
> at once.  Does anyone have any input on the best way to go about teaching
> him Braille and print?  I'm going to talk to his IU teacher also, but so
> far, the IU has been focusing on using the vision he has.
> Thanks,
> Nicole
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