Hello! My name is Lily and I am one of those learning Braille at Braille IT. I never really intended to learn Braille as I am not visually impaired at all nor is anybody in my family.
I began going to the classes to help Chris Tattersall with recording IT materials on tape for blind students, and then I thought maybe I could be the ‘tealady’ for the group. Eventually Chris said “Well, whilst you’re here you might as well learn Braille!”. So, about two years ago I started to learn.
I am not the best student by any means, but I have carried on because I enjoy it.The group is very friendly, and we have a lot of laughs together, but,as well as learning a new skill, I have really learned a great deal about what it means to have sight problems.
I had never heard about such things as Age Related Macular disease or given much thought to the daily problems of living with worsening eyesight. With the group I have been on trips to large Exhibitions where I have seen the vast range of equipment which is available to help the blind, and those with other sight problems, to do the things which I do without thinking. I have the greatest admiration for those whose lives have suddenly been changed by eye problems and the way in which they learn to cope with them.
I will never be ‘top of the class’ at Braille but I have gained some insight into the lives of those living with impaired sight and it has been very enjoyable to work with them.
If you are thinking ‘Oh, I’m too old to learn’, well, I’m in my mid seventies so there’s certainly hope for you! We all learn at our own pace, with no pressure from ‘teacher’ and we all get a chance to play with his lovely dog! Tea and biscuits provided!
Written by Lily
During the past two years or so that I have been engaged in the Braille-IT programme I have not only acquired new skills but made several friends.
The programme has opened new areas to me that I had not thought possible. For example, I can now use a PC and understand its functions, and negotiate the internet as well as any sighted person. Beyond this the programme has provided a reasoned structure, which, as I have progressed through the modules, has enabled me to blend my Braille skills with IT. So, for instance, I am now competent in using a PC to build and structure passages of work, then, by saving these to CD I can translate into the less forgiving format of Braille print.
Participation in the programme has given me other skills such as writing Braille in other formats: poetry, mathematics etc. It has also encouraged me to develop research methods and I am now able, with assistance from a sighted helper, to prepare tactile drawings such as maps and plans with Braille keys.
On a personal level the programme has raised my level of self- confidence and I have gained great personal satisfaction in the successful completion of the various modules. The programme’s structure is such that the participant is encouraged to progress through the different skill levels.
However, apart from the learning the various modules, participation in the programme has also given me the
opportunity to make new friends, most of whom share the difficulties encountered by the visually handicapped. On one level this has helped to overcome such difficulties and on another has provided me with a new social circle.
The support provided both by the class tutor, Chris, (who is always fine, provided he has his cup of coffee and biscuits) and by fellow participants has proved invaluable and has been a major contributor to my growing level of confidence.
Written by Rossphere
Braille IT is a group which meets at the Library once a week to learn Braille. The mixed age group of twenties to seventies is learning Braille for different reasons, some because their eyesight has deteriorated, others so they can help their families with sight problems.
I joined the group about four years ago and found it very interesting. I suppose it’s like learning a new language. I do have a visual impairement but you don’t have to have a visual impairement to learn Braille. Sighted people can learn Braille, and you never know when it will come in useful to help someone.
Written by Dorothy