Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Where There is Braille There is Freedom!

Whoever Braille sets free is free indeed! The word “freedom" is a word that comes to mind each time I think of the importance of learning braille. Someone may ask, “what does freedom have to do with learning braille?" Well, according to the Google online dictionary, “freedom is the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” These are all liberties people who are blind and those with visual impairments can have because of the braille code. Additionally, learning braille equips people who are blind and those with visual impairments with necessary tools that allows for total access to their environment. We all need access to our environment because that’s how we learn about the world around us, with braille learning will never cease! 

 
Be Prepared
Let me tell you how I came to learn braille. I did not initially plan to learn braille, but I am glad I took the direction that I did. As I was contemplating about my future field of study, I came across a wonderful opportunity unexpectedly. I am now a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. As with many other people living with chronic illnesses that may cause potential decline in vision, it never crossed my mind that someday I could find braille useful.
 
I don’t know why it took quite a while for the seriousness of the possibility to lose my vision to sink in. The truth of the matter is I may potentially lose my sight someday, and if that happens the question is would I be ready? It is always a wise decision to think of such difficult matters and prepare for the unexpected. I can say that knowing what I know now, having learned the braille code if I ever lost my sight, I will be a free individual. It is because I will still be able to do the things that I like to do such as reading, writing, and listening to music, to name a few. I would still be able to communicate with people I love, just in a different format, a unique, special way. Whoever braille sets free is free indeed!
 
Braille Lifts Limitations
Accessible formats are alternative means of presenting information. A lot of people are unable to access information in its original format, which is why it is important for information to be presented in diverse formats. Braille allows for equality, fosters for inclusion, creates personal security for blind people and those with visual impairments. Do not be afraid to ask for what you need. If society claims that it desires for inclusion and independence for all, shouldn’t independence for all mean in everything for all people?
 
I will admit that accessibility has improved. People who are blind, as well as people with visual impairments, have more means to travel safer and efficiently in the environment. With so many advances in technology I wait for the day that many other restrictions will become a thing of the past for individuals who are blind. We hear more of new inventions such as self-driving cars. When I hear about self-driving vehicles, I think of a student who broke down into tears when they were told that driving was never going to be in their future. Maybe for now, but we may see a future where due to advances in technology and braille, driving to blind individuals will become within reach. Independence is freedom, now that’s exciting.
 
animated picture of self-drving cars with a preson crossing the street
 
Empathy and Compassion
I am not by any means claiming that a life changing event such as losing my sight will not totally affect me emotionally. Most likely it will. A lot of us can relate, and agree that it is never easy dealing with a loss. Just as the grieving process has stages, please allow yourself to feel the way you need to feel. Going through the stages of feeling angry, and depression are all part of the grieving process. Reach out and seek help. No matter the situation, just remember that we are all different in terms of how we handle loss. Do not let someone’s judgement dictate how you ought to grieve your loss. I hope I was able to encourage someone with this blog. Encouragement creates hope, and we need hope to go on no matter the situation.
 
Posted on May 11, 2022
Updated on: May 11, 2022