Saturday, August 04, 2007


My line of work involves promoting the employment of individuals with disabilities. In doing so, I'm always learning a lot regarding this subject. It's pretty fascinating, actually.

Recently, we encountered a young man in his mid twenties who had been blind since a very young age. He had, of course, learned to read and write proficiently in Braille and listen and speak in hand-spelling.

Recently, through medical procedures, he has become sighted enough to see large print. What is really interesting is that he has not, of course, learned to read English text until his recent sightedness and has only begun to do so. However, (and here's the fascinating part) now that he is newly-sighted, he prefers reading "sighted" Braille!

Think about it. He's become highly educated reading in Braille. Now that he's sighted, he prefers and is more proficients at reading printed Braille rather than touch-Braille or printed English.

At my workplace, we're all about making accommodations for individuals with disabilities. We have the most recent Braille writer and can convert PDF-to-Word-to-Braille at the drop of a hat.

Helen Keller is one of my all-time favorite idols; not because she was deaf and blind, but because she was highly educated, wrote some of the most profound essays on universal theology, fought for human rights with regard to the disabled, preached an awareness of womens' venereal diseases and, most of all, was a staunch Socialist.

While at Radcliffe, she also struggled with algebra and, most of all, with geometry. Think about it. No auditory or visual stimuli or recollection.
I can see how she made it through with the abstract equations of algebra, but the spacial theorems of plane geometry. . . ?

And now, our friend just has to brush the side of a pencil across the "invisible" bumps of Braille and an entire written world is instantly opened up and more accessible to him.
A whole new concept that none of us had ever thought about.

Don't you just love that?
I sure do!

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At 12:04 PM , Blogger Lorraine said...

Pretty cool.


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