[AI] Fw: The HumanWare Braille Literacy Award 2010
lissyverghese at gmail.com
Wed May 19 23:45:10 EDT 2010
The HumanWare Braille Literacy Award 2010
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To: Lissy Verghese
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:04 AM
Subject: The HumanWare Braille Literacy Award 2010
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The HumanWare Braille Literacy Award 2010
HumanWare proudly sponsors a National Braille Literacy Award each year to support the importance of braille literacy in the early days of a child's education. It is the highlight of our year to receive the applications and personal stories of so many amazing blind and vision impaired children, their families and teachers from across the country. The really hard part is to pick a winner!
In 2010 the Award is granted to the Jones family of Minnesota who received a complete Mountbatten Braille Writer Learning System.
The Jones family clearly understands the important of literacy, specifically braille literacy, for the young children in their family. They wrote…
Literacy is the key to any child's future and we are learning that "Braille" literacy is the key to our second and third children because of their visual impairments. Reading and writing is a basic fundamental form of communication and if you cannot read or write, you cannot support yourself as an independent person. Braille will be the only written communication for our daughter and second son.
Brian and Heather, parents to three children, valued and practiced being their first child's teachers early in his life. They included beginning reading and writing literacy skills in their daily activities. Heather describes their family activities with their first child, Jaxon, in the paragraphs below.
Literacy is a fundamental value in our family. If you would have asked me when my first child, Jaxon, was born how important literacy would be to his future I would have laughed at you thinking it was a ridiculous question!
I read to Jaxon the day I brought him home from the hospital, and we still read to him every night. As he grew, he played with his books and looked at the words as I read them to him. He began to pick up crayons about the time he was one, scribbling and make "pictures" on paper. Soon he began to recognize his name by sight. At about three he could spell it and now at 5 he can write it.
After the birth of their second child, Ethan, who was born with a visual impairment, Heather and Brian began to question their capabilities to be Ethan’s first teachers because Ethan would need to use braille to develop literacy skills. Before Ethan was one year old, they were introduced to the Mountbatten Brailler and they began to realize that with braille books and materials, powerful tools, and support, they would also be able to be Ethan’s first teachers in their home. Heather writes about beginning this journey.
When Ethan was born, I again thought about that wonderful process of reading because it is my favorite thing to do. When we found out he was visually impaired, it broke my heart. I thought my baby boy was never going to be able to read. At that point I didn't know anything about braille. I have since learned that he will read and he will write. He will be able to do almost anything that any sighted child will.
Ethan has followed in his big brother's footsteps. He loves to read and we sit and read his brailled books every day. He also began his mark making at the age of one. Now at the age of two he can write the letters a and c on the brailler. Letter recognition is taking a bit longer but it is coming.
We have purchased and made some books with braille on them and they are his favorite books. He also likes books with textures, however if there is no texture or braille he becomes uninterested. The Mountbatten system would not only allow him to continue to become literate in braille, it will also allow us to braille any book that he may like to read. We believe that the Mountbatten system in our home would be an immense boost to their learning abilities. It will allow the two of them to progress faster and learn better if we have the ability to remain their "first teachers” at home even though they require special braille tools.
When their third child, Evie, was born with a visual impairment, they were on their way to understanding their abilities to teach braille literacy skills to blind children.
When, Evie, was born, my heart was broken again as I was told that my little girl would also have a visual impairment similar to her brother. Now we have the privilege of raising two visually impaired preschool children.
While most sighted children are introduced to the written word when they are infants, many visually impaired children are not introduced to braille until kindergarten. That is unacceptable.
Having a Mountbatten in our home will help both of my kids start their school years at the same level as sighted kids. Braille is to Ethan and Evie what letters and numbers are to Jaxon.
Even though their children are young, Brian and Heather realize the value of braille tools, not only in their early childhood years, but when they are also school age. They have a vision of their children’s futures built on a strong foundation in braille literacy.
The Mountbatten will not only be of use when they are young children but throughout their lives. With the features of being able to hook up to the PC the Mountbatten will play a huge role in my children's educations...doing their homework with it, learning on the computer, and writing their own stories.
Reading and writing are the foundations of learning. To my children braille is reading and writing.
To me the Mountbatten brings fundamental learning into my house. Beyond that it is also the key to unlock the door to their imaginations and explore the world of the written word. A door they couldn't open without it.
With braille literacy starting at home, our children will be able meet or exceed the literacy skills of sighted kids of the same age. There is no education without literacy. There is no success in life for a person who has no education.
Congratulations to the Jones family and best wishes for their commitment and support for braille literacy.
An honorable mention goes to the Ingram Family of San Pedro, CA:
"We see the Mountbatten as an amazing tool that could open up the world of braille literacy to our three special needs children. We believe that literacy is the key to a full and rounded life and that all should be provided the opportunity and encouragement to learn. We believe that those who have the potential, but do not learn to read and write are imprisoned in many ways and are kept from becoming all that they can be, kept from full participation in society, and kept from meaningful employment."
To learn more about how the Mountbatten can introduce students to braille literacy in a fun and inclusive manner visit:
More info about HumanWare support for Braille Literacy
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