Dots for Families was originally designed in 2003 by L. Penny Rosenblum, Ph.D., University of Arizona, and Linda Reed, M.Ed., Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Parent Outreach Program for the Visually Impaired for family members, teachers of children with visual impairments, and others interested in promoting literacy opportunities for young children with visual impairments. The site was moved to its new home on Paths to Literacy in July 2013.
The original site featured the stories of two braille users, Haylee and Anna, and we thought it would be interesting to check in with them again now and see where they are 10 years later.
Time does fly by for Haylee and her family! Her sister is now out on her own and Haylee soon will be headed off to college. In May 2014 she will graduate high school and is applying to colleges and settling on a major. Haylee is a fluent braille reader and uses an Appex, a portable notetaker, which she has with her almost all the time.
Haylee enjoys video games and uses her functional vision well to play these, though images must be close and of high contrast for her to see them. This summer Haylee attended a program for youth with visual impairments where she got to live in apartment and participate in a wide array of experiences with other youth with visual impairment. After attending public school since first grade, Haylee has opted to attend her state school for the blind as a high school senior so she can get more intense services in several areas of the expanded core curriculum including orientation and mobility.
Currently she is on the Advisory Board for the AnimalWatch Vi Suite research project at The University of Arizona.
She is able to provide input as a braille reader and a youth to the professors designing an iPad app and accompanying graphics for use by middle school students with visual impairment.
Read Haylee's earlier story.
As 2014 gets underway Anna is 35 years old and is employed by the Arizona Department of Economic Security's Rehabilitation Services Administration. In her job she works with people who are visually impaired to teach them independent living skills and help them obtain and maintain employment. She often hires a driver to take her to the homes of her clients or their work sites, and often uses brailled cards with her clients’ names, addresses, and phone numbers when she is working out in the community. Anna uses a variety of additional literacy tools both at her job and in her personal life. She uses a computer with screen reading software called JAWS. This program reads to her what is on the screen. She often uses refreshable braille so that she can not only hear what she is reading but see it in braille too. In her office she has braille labels on files and equipment so she can easily locate what she needs to do her job independently.
Anna uses some braille at home too. She has braille labels on her spices and raised markings on her stove, washer and dryer so she can set these independently. Furthermore, Anna also uses braille for labeling important documents, tracking account and utility company numbers, and labeling other household items such as medications and cleaning products.
When she travels to destinations such as New York City for professional training, national conventions for consumer group organizations, or to visit family in other parts of the country, Anna uses braille to write down flight numbers and times she provides to airport personnel as she receives assistance to get to her planes on time. Closer to home, she enjoys getting together with friends and is an avid card player using a set of playing cards that have braille on them. Anna is a member of the board for her professional organization and at a recent conference worked the registration desk using her iPad and refreshable braille display to pull up the files she needed to check attendees into the conference.
Being a literate adult enables Anna to have an active professional and personal life. Though she uses auditory information to do many things she still finds that braille allows her to access information and keep her own notes, lists etc. in a way that audio alone doesn't afford.
Read Anna's earlier story.