[AI] your thoughts on braille

pamnani kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 4 13:56:48 EDT 2008


I am answering your queries based on my experience and not on other factors 
like availabeility of computers in rural areas etc.
I agree with Amit and Payal. I really regret not knowing braille.
 I would have not read my novels in braille but for my work I could have 
used it extensively.
 It would have been very useful for me in court just like it was useful for 
Amit while broadcasting.
When you read the law you have to read every commar and full stop properly 
braille would have been useful. I do the same thing with JAWS but you got to 
be very careful and read it a couple of times or word by word.
Also braille is used in museums both in India and abroad so had I known 
braille I would have enjoyed the experience better.
Jet airways has a braille manual and so do a lot of companies had I known 
braille I would have read the instructions without someone having to read 
them to me.
Labelling in braille would have made my life easier.
When I speak at various meetings I always tell the audience that they should 
not forget braille while learning computers.Very few from the audience 
actually follow my advice just like I didnt listen to my advisors. I too 
thought they were foolish and that life had gone ahead and computers would 
solve all my problems. Alas I learnt the hard way and so will my young 
friends who dont know braille.

To be useful braille has to be taught properly. Unfortunately not many 
Special  trainers can read braille So how can you expect them to teach the 
kids. So from the beginning of their school lives kids hate braille and are 
looking for an opportunity to start computers and forget braille.  properly. 
Now braille is taught as a special subject in special schools and is treated 
like a seperate language. All subjects are and should be taught in braille 
at the junior and middle school level.

The trainers who are teaching computers are doing their job and making 
visually challenged people employable but it is for the visually challenged 
person to think about how he or she can add value to himself/herself and 
become better and more independent.

I had started learning a couple of years ago but due to my busy schedule I 
am not able to practise therefore I cannot read braille but I know one day I 
will learn. Kanchan
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Subramani L" <lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 12:32
Subject: [AI] your thoughts on braille

> Folks:
> Appologies for the lengthy mail.
> A couple of weeks from now 'Sahana', a trust in Bangalore is holding its
> workshop to emphasise the importance of using Braille by the visually
> challenged, despite widespread availability of technology. I thought
> this could be a right occasion to write (in my newspaper) about how
> Braille teaching/learning and its wider use is fairing against the
> increasing number of accessible technology/devices. In this regard I
> would like you all to share your opinions or personal experience on
> Braille learning or use in your daily lives. Giving a few pointer below
> for you all to think. I request you to contribute to this topic with
> relevant and thought provoking messages, both for and against Braille.
> -The trustee Mr Varadarajan with whom I spoke, doesn't dismiss the
> prominent role technology is playing in making the VC employable and
> compete with others in the mainstream. But, he feels in the excitement
> created by computer/technology, promotion and retention of Braille as
> the primary medium of reading/writing for the VCs has been ignored or
> given second preference at best.  Who is responsible for this? Do you
> think trainers neglect Braille or do you think the urgency they need to
> show in getting employment for the VCs justifies any neglect they may
> show towards Braille?
> -Though people like Mr Varadarajan have been stressing the importance of
> learning Braille, the wide ranging application of technology has
> virtually eliminated the need for the VCs to go through the pains of
> learning, or, writing in Braille. This, in many ways, is comparable to
> the so-called art of letter writing which is almost extinct thanks to
> PCs, laptops and mobilephones. So, do you think it is pratcial for the
> VCs to adopt to technology at the expense of Braille?
> -Of course, the fact remains that Braille is still relevant for 90 or
> more percent of VCs who have virtually no access to computer. But, given
> that NGOs and training institutes have started to address the access
> problem and, hopefully, in a few years time almost all VCs will have
> access, do you think Braille can be consigned safely to the museum?
> -There are also attempts to incorporate Braille in technologies with the
> advent of refreshable Braille systems, Braille keyboards and output
> devices. Given that this would still restrict communication only between
> the VCs and will not fully help interaction with others in the
> mainstream, can we still look Braille as the most relevant medium for
> us? (Please feel free to contribute your own views independent of these
> points)
> Regards,
> Subramani
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