Learning Braille as a senior project.

Future Plans

Here are my future plans for my senior project, both short-term and long-term. (We noticed that there was a library service right next door to the Braille Institute, in the same building actually, and perhaps they have books written in Braille, too. Maybe they even have them available to the general public, not just to people who are legally blind. That way I could actually start reading short books by touch!! I can’t believe it. Must check.)

Short Term:

1. Finish learning/recognizing Braille Alphabet by touch.

2. See if anyone is open to an interview.

3. Visit the Library Services next door to the Braille Insitute and see about their lending policies.

Long Term (Revisions):

1. Master Level 1 Braille (all alphabet letters and basic punctuation) by touch.

2. Be able to read/recognize words at a decent pace, blindfolded.

3. Present a video, either of me reading a short book (i.e. Cat in the Hat), an interview, or of my being blindfolded for a day and going about my daily routine (including going to school).


Braille Institute!

I finally had a chance to visit the Braille Institute near downtown LA! I arrived at about 4:15pm, and first I talked to the receptionist about my senior project and how I was looking to both learn Braille and also learn about issues that come with visual impairment, and hopefully raise awareness. She gave me useful brochures on different things, such as myths about visual impairment, what we can do to help someone we know who has a visual impairment, etc. I’m hoping to come back and get more copies before my presentation so I can hand them out to the people who come and spread the knowledge. If not, I can always make photocopies.

Another really great thing she gave me was a little plastic brochure that had the different types of visual impairment; you hold it up to your eye, and it gives an example of how people with different visual impairments see. The best thing, though, was a small slip with the Braille alphabet, but the dots were actually raised. I can finally master the Braille alphabet not only be sight, but also by touch!!

After I visited the receptionist, she suggested I go visit the volunteer center. I did, and they gave me the business card of the director for high school/college outreach, so perhaps I will also see what I can do with this and maybe even volunteer there (I’d only be able to do it after school though, which is a problem because they close at 5pm).

And now comes the best part: Vistas, the store inside the Braille Institute. They have all these really useful resources for people with visual impairment, and also materials to practice learning Braille. (I’d actually though almost everyone who were legally blind knew Braille, but I was told that many don’t necessarily know, and/or are barely beginning). After browsing for a while and gulping at the price stickers, I finally came across the most amazing thing ever: a Braille dictionary for beginners, with level 1 andcontractions (level 2) included. I was in heaven. Not only does it have hundreds of words with raised dot cells, it also includes a thesaurus at the end, with things like common verbs and adjectives, as well as numbers, seasons, days of the week, month, and holidays.

It is perfect.

I could not believe my luck. I can finally begin really developing touch sensitivity! I only need to get the Braille alphabet down pat by touch (which I can do with the raised alphabet sheet the receptionist gave me) and then simply flip to a random page and begin practicing! The best thing is that it only cost $14.95! Many of the things in the store were $20+, so I was extremely surprised that the dictionary was so cheap. I couldn’t have found anything better if I’d looked online. Going to the Braille Insitute was just what I needed to really begin learning Braille by touch.

Retracing Steps

Hello again!
After two months of relative inactivity, I’ve finally had time again to resume memorizing the Braille alphabet. I’m hesitant to go on to the third session in my BRL (Braille through Remote Learning) because I don’t have all the alphabet memorized; I really want to get them down before I move on. Also, I really need to look online and order a little pocket Braille learning device, as shown below, to actually start developing touch sensitivity to the raised dots.

It’s $4.95 on Amazon:

and I’m wondering how well it actually works, and if it actually does provide good practice. I’m hoping to order it this weekend.

For right now, I’m just going to finish memorizing the rest of the Braille alphabet (and re-learning it from 2 months ago).

Learning the Alphabet!

Learned Fact:
For the first 10 letters of the alphabet (a-j), you must basically memorize the dot formation. For the next 10 letters, though (k-t), all you have to do is add a cell dot 3 to all of the first 10 cells. (Cell number order pictured below).

Braille Cell Number Notation:

Cell Formation (the dot numbers)

Tiny Steps

Well, hello there! Now that Winter Break has (mercifully) arrived, I’ve started my research into Braille and how in the world I will learn it.

On a brief side note, though, I’d just like to let it be known that I tried my hand at touch sensitivity today outside my school’s science buildings, where they have the number of the room on a plaque outside, Braille included. It relieved me somewhat that I was able to detect the general shape of the character (Is that what they’re called? Must read more), even if I couldn’t tell exactly how many dots there were in a line. It’s a start.

But anyways.
I found a site (seems a bit outdated, but it’ll do for now, to get me started) that lets you register for free to learn Braille. Once you input your e-mail address, it sends you a username and password. It includes a 12-course lesson on Basic Braille (there’s three options: Basic, Transcribing,and Special Code). I have not started reading yet, and am just about to begin.

Braille through Remote Learning

Learned Fact of the Day:

There’s three ‘grades’ of Braille.
1.The basic Braille, consisting of 26-letter alphabet.
2.Second grade, consisting of some shorthand.
3.Advanced, consisting of math Braille, musical, and more shorthand. Mostly used in personal letters and diaries.

Over and out!


Well, hello there! This will hopefully be my online blog detailing my senior project, learning Braille, and the lessons and adventures of blindfolding myself for a day (or more).

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