Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Encouraging the Development of Pre-Braille Skills at Home: Ideas from Turkey

January is a special month for us because it is Braille Awareness Month and braille, blind children, and their families are important to me. This is why I am here sharing with you a story from Turkey.
 

Supporting at Home Work Being Done at School

Ada is a 7-year-old girl, who has been totally blind since age 3. She has been going to a Special Education Center for the past 2 years. At first, her mother thought Ada would never be able to paint. But one day, Ada's teacher presented a raised-line picture, which Ada loved exploring with her hands and this idea amazed her mother.

Ada explores raised lines on a page.Raised line art

Since then, Ada's mother decided to support the work being done at school, and both mother and daughter started doing work at home too.

With her mother's support, Ada learned to:

  • Use scissors and cut raised-line shapes. Her mom said that even children with sight couldn't cut this well!

 Young girl cutting out shapes with raised linesShapes outlined with glue and cut out

  • Match different small objects to an empty egg box.
  • Match fruit shapes made out of cardboard.

Matching and following patterns

  • Create patterns and sequences with all kind of Turkish nuts. 

Creating patterns with Turkish nuts

 

Encouraging the Development of Pre-Braille Skills

What I love most about this story is that, without knowing it, this mother was encouraging the development of her girl's pre-braille skills!

When I asked Ada's mother about her knowledge of braille, she replied:  "I knew there was such a thing as braille before my daughter was blind, but I had never seen it and I thought it was something very difficult. So, when I saw the braille dots the first time, I worried thinking about how my daughter would learn it. However, when worried, I never thought my daughter could not learn. I always have believed in her and we learned braille together."

 

Believing in Possibilities

Later on Ada was ready to use a Perkins Smart Brailler, but it was so expensive they could not buy one. So Ada's mom started knitting and selling her products with the sole focus of raising enough money to buy a brailler. For 4 months, she worked endlessly during the night and Ada's finally got her Perkins machine.

A Smart Brailler in the background with shape matching cards in the foreground

This story was told to me while Ada and her mother prepared Turkish coffee together.

Accessing and learning braille could be challenging, but believing in possibilities is what eliminates differences.  This story is a great example of what happens when we all believe in possibilities!

Collage of encouraging the development of pre-braille skills at home

Posted on January 16, 2019
Updated on: July 1, 2019