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It was last year when I started my first Braille lessons and shortly thereafter had to put on hold due to moving. Just recently I reconnected with a CNIB instructor and about to play with dots again. I have always been fascinated with Braille, sweeping my fingers over the page is somewhat like of a pimpled paper
I just got back from my first 2 hour Braille session and I don't know why but my heart was not into it today. Perhaps because it is another acknowledgement of what is yet to come. Same way as I felt when I started to use the cane. I know it just not something you learn and master it in one day, my fingers were so cold and I could barely feel the raised dots. We each had a 1/2 of an egg carton to use it as a tactile and visual aid as a 6 dots cell and (6) paper balls for each dot to form the letters. It was a creative way to show us how it works. As we were feeling our way through the letters, I couldn't help but question why I was here. Do I need to learn this? Especially with today's technology we have so many useful aids to use to help us 'read'. Am I ready for this? Will I ever get this? In BC, there is no law that braille has to be in one form (contracted or un-contracted) when displayed in businesses or on paper. Here is an example: I traveled on my own to Sacramento, CA last summer to a RP social. When going onto the plane, I used my fingers to figure out where my seat was (there was braille on each row below the carry-on cupboards.) It did not make sense to me and I couldn't figure out the difference between letters and numbers. Had I known there was a symbol for number I may have figured it out. It was then I was glad I came to the class, I had learned something new. It really is like learning a new language. I look at this as a new challenge.
I come to this second lesson with a better frame of mind, I have accepted the fact that I needed to learn this and yes, I may need this in the future, even with all the wonderful gadgets available to us. Simple things like going to the washroom, in a dark building would be most helpful, or while on the plane when the lights are out, have finger will travel, and to find your seat without assistance. Maybe even in a dark restaurant, your fingers will help you decide what is for dinner. I do think practicing braille can be a challenge. Maybe I will buy a slate and stylus and practice writing and reading braille, it could be fun! It certainly a cheaper alternative to buying those expensive braille printer or braille books. I actually downloaded a smart phone application called Braille Code Driller. So far, I have been practicing several times a day, that is a good start. Once I get the alphabet down, I will practice more on the braille sheets. Who knows, maybe I will sign up at Hadley School for the Blind for more classes. I am open to any tips, suggestions, and websites if you have any! Please leave a comment, I would appreciate your help.