Editor’s Note: Braille is important to everyone who is blind as it provides tactile access to the written word. Holly and Kathryn want you to be aware of the upcoming changes to the braille code, and also assist them by participating in a discussion of families learning braille through online courses.
You may have heard that the braille code, the tactile system used by people with visual impairments to access print, is getting a makeover. In January 2016, blind adults, students, their teachers, and their families will be starting to learn changes to the braille code with which we are all familiar. The revised version is called the Unified English Braille Code (UEB). This is the first in a series of posts designed to help parents and families understand the reasons for these changes and what these changes will mean for you and your child.
Because Families Are Teachers
We know that parents are the most important influences in the lives of their children. Moms and dads are a child’s first and most important teachers. For children with visual impairments, families must take an extra step to learn braille in order to support their child as he or she learns braille at school.
UEB Resources to Help Families Learn About UEB
There are resources to help families learn the braille code changes. Here are some links:
- Start with AFB’s braille information
- Then you may want to check out this free AFB Webinar, A Brief Overview of Unified English Braille
- Perkins Scout has a list of Resources for Learning UEB
- And The Hadley School for the Blind offers a course called “Transitioning to Unified English Braille”
- Texas State Leadership Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired will be hosting a UEB Study Group Webinar
But we also realize that not everyone learns best from taking a traditional online class.
At Portland State University (PSU) we are developing an online braille learning platform that will incorporate eLearning exercises, educational gaming, and social networking that can be used by both braille readers and their friends and family members. In its first phase, the platform will help people learn some basics about the braille code and the new UEB rules.
To learn more about PSU’s UEB Prep, contact Holly Lawson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your Experience
As we develop our eLearning platform, we need to know more about the people who will be using the tools. We’re asking families to share their experiences with online learning and braille (anywhere from having no experience with braille to being an actual braille reader yourself). In a few weeks we will be sending out an invitation to participate in an online discussion for families about UEB and learning. We hope you’ll be able to join us on October 6th at 6:00 PM (Eastern) 3:00 PM (Pacific).