My senior project proposal is to learn the Braille language, including alphabet, accented letters, numbers, punctuation and special signs. Once done, I will try to apply my Braille on certain days by trying to go through a day in which I am completely blind (blindfolded). This might extend to more days, or it might start out one day, then a few weeks later do two days, a few weeks later three days, and so on. I might also even read books (perhaps a chapter(s) of Harry Potter) in Braille, depending on the final schedule, and detail my experience with that on the blog.
I’ve always been interested in learning different types of communication, including American Sign Language and Braille. While I know the basics of ASL, I’ve never actually researched or even know how Braille works. Now that I have, I think it would be a great experience to really try to understand how the language works, and the hardships and difficulties that people face when they are blind, and the roadblocks that come from having this handicap. I hope to learn a new language/form of communication, and become a more conscientious member of the community by understanding the hardships of blindness.
I will also be conducting interviews and real daily life experiences by people who are blind, hopefully throughPasadena’s Braille Club on Del Mar Blvd. I will be trying to get in touch with Eliza Cooper, a Westridge alum who was blind and had to go actually experience Westridge being blind, and hopefully gain experience on how Westridge adapted to these special circumstances, and what the hardships were. I will be keeping an online blog as well as an offline journal, and video record some of the days when I learn Braille and the whole day when I blindfold myself.
One of the potential roadblocks that will undoubtedly come up is touch sensitivity. I previously played guitar, and my fingers (especially the ones on my left) are still calloused and are not nearly as sensitive as they normally would be. Just in general, being able to read with your fingers will be a difficult thing to get used to, and to practice enough that I will be able to get that type of sensitivity of my fingers. Another roadblock is simply actually going about my life for one day as a blind student (I hope to do this on a school day, to see just how hard it would be to juggle academics into it). I would literally need to plan my steps in advance – how many footsteps it takes to get from one class to the next, how many steps there are on the stairs, notifying my teachers in advance and trying to work around a lack of visual reference – and talk to each of my teachers about it. Also, I would also need to figure out how to actually walk – I would probably use a cane to feel my way through, and I would need to somehow attach a tape recorder to me so I could have my hands free all day.