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Spring 2004 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Braille Means Everything to Me

By Jonathon Taylor, Student, Round Rock, TX

Abstract: A ten-year-old shares his thoughts on how braille has allowed him to pursue his favorite hobbies of reading and writing.

Key Words: blind, family, expanded core curriculum, Braille, literacy, personal story

Editor’s Note: Jonathon Taylor is a 10-year-old forth grader in Round Rock ISD (a suburb of Austin). Jonathon developed bilateral retinoblastoma at the age of 20 months. Both of his eyes were enucleated when he was three years old. I met Jonathon and his family seven years ago when both of our children were in the same preschool program for children with disabilities. From the very beginning, it was clear that Jonathon’s family had completely embraced a positive philosophy towards Jonathon’s blindness. My favorite memory of our boys being in class together was the day that my Jonathan came home so excited, he could hardly get the words out quick enough, “Mom, I saw the coolest thing today; it’s called Braille and Jonathon uses it to read!” He went on in great detail describing for me how Jonathon used his Perkins Brailler to create words and then could read words faster than everyone else. Today, Jonathon Taylor is mainstreamed in a regular classroom and receives services from his TVI and O&M. He enjoys activities such as karate, playing the piano as well as climbing trees, playing with his Yu-gi-oh collection, and rough-housing with the best of them. As Jonathon shares in his article, his favorite activities, however, are reading and writing. When I asked Jonathon to share his thoughts about reading and writing, he jumped at the chance; he even spent part of his spring break getting it done. Thank you, Jonathon! And as enthusiastic as Jonathon is about his literacy form, Braille, other forms of literacy are just as important to others, as you will see in other articles in the See/Hear.

So what does Braille mean to me? Well, I’ll tell you. Braille means everything to me. If it weren’t for Braille, I’d be miserable – or at least close to it. Without Braille, I couldn’t read. I couldn’t live without Braille. I mean, imagine it, you can’t read any print, but you need to read this important letter. What would you do? If I couldn’t read Braille, it would be the same way.

I love to read. But if I couldn’t read Braille, how would I read Harry Potter books and stuff like that? Have someone else read them to me? You wish! I stay up a long time in the night reading and I can’t have a person sit by my bed and just read away, can I? And then, how about schoolwork? How would I read the Math textbook? I couldn’t. So I need Braille as much as you need print.

Of course Braille is important to me for reading and all, but there’s writing too. I also love to write, maybe even more than I love to read. Writing is my greatest hobby, and if Braille weren’t invented how would I write? Sure, there’s stuff like the computer and the laptop, but they take much longer and are harder to use. And how would I read the stuff I’d written. Yeah, okay, there’s Jaws (a talking software that reads the windows operating system on the computer), but it would be hard to carry around. A BrailleNote (a high-tech, portable computer with a braille keyboard) is much more convenient. Not only can you do the same things on the BrailleNote as on the computer, such as email, browse the Internet, download books to read, and have files to write in print and emboss (print out in braille), but it is also portable--a small, portable braille-printing machine. Cool, huh! But let’s get back to what Braille means to me. As I was saying, without Braille I couldn’t write. Without Braille, this article wouldn’t exist. So you see, Braille is extremely important. When I grow up, Braille will help me so much, and all other blind people as well. That’s what Braille means to me.

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Last Revision: September 1, 2010