To the nay sayers over the years; oh yes she could learn to read Braille!
When Jessica turned 16, she thought she was ready to move far far away from us. (Far far away was one of her favorite sayings. Sometimes it was far far far FAR far away.) She decided she wanted to try living at the school for the blind. While she was there, she had a teacher who believed in her enough to begin teaching her Braille.
This video of Jess was taken about 6 months later… Please watch, it is awesome! Not only is she reading, but also note how Jess is focused and able to process quickly.
In A Vision of Literacy, I addressed the issue of when to teach Braille to low vision students. Please note in the following video:
- how close she has to get to the print to read
- how large the words are written
- focus and processing not as good as with Braille
In this next very short video (17 seconds), watch as Jess struggles a little more with this word that is written a little smaller in order to fit on the card.
A minimal font typically used on a document is 12 pt. Large print is 18 pt and larger. Most publications available in large print are in 18 pt. According to The American Printing House for the Blind (APH), if a student needs 28 pt or larger, they should be considered a candidate for Braille education. This is an example of the differences between the sizes:
At home, to get her to write required words related to something of great interest like the names of rides at Disney. The writing was legible, but so large as to not be very practical for regular use.
I want to share something that relates back to instructor attitude like I mentioned in To Braille or Not to Braille. The first time I was told Jess would never learn to read she was 7 years old. In middle school, we were still being told she would not learn to read. It was her precious parapro who believed in her like we did that taught Jess how to read and write up to 75 words. And of all things, she got scolded for working with Jess on reading and writing. I believe if Jessica had not been able to at least read and write enough to prove she was a learner, that she would not have been given the opportunity to learn Braille when she went to the school for the blind.
Thank you forever ‘Slawman’. We love you!
Next – Middle School Transition
If you are new to Autism After School – The Transitional Truth, Jess is an autistic and visually impaired young adult. I am telling our story to help other parents and professionals learn from our journey. My hope is to help others better prepare for experiences within the educational system and the transition to adulthood.