New post

I posted my first "real" post on my blog. It's not about diabetes, but some might find it interesting anyway!

Braille: Powerful, Flexible, Elegant—and Misunderstood

Note: This post is about braille and one aspect of the braille literacy issue (some would say "crisis") which currently exists. I think virtually the same post could have been written about insulin. I think insulin is shrouded in as much misunderstanding and negativity for many in the diabetes community as braille is for many in the blindness community.

I sit on the bus during my commute home reading a novel on my BrailleNote to pass the time. As I read, my fingers skimming lightly over the raised pins of the refreshable braille display, a child sitting nearby turns to her mother and asks what I am doing. “She's blind," the mother answers, "so she has to read in braille."

I pause in my reading and briefly ponder the nuances of language which have just taken place. I realize that whenever people speak of braille, it is usually proceeded with "has to use" or "has to learn." I wonder why this subtly-negative "has to" often proceeds the mention of braille. I think of the role braille plays in my own life, of how it has made my hobbies, my studies, and my employment so much easier and, indeed, possible. I think of how braille was not something I had to learn and use but something I chose to learn and use; and, as someone with low vision, it's a choice I am thankful to have made. I am thankful to be proficient in a skill that, regrettably, the majority of blind and visually impaired people do not possess. Braille is a powerful tool, an incredibly flexible means of communication, and an elegant form of reading for those who choose to become proficient—but it is also very misunderstood, not only by the sighted public but by many blind and visually impaired individuals themselves. Read the full post ...

Interesting blog! I sort of wondered how you kept up with stuff here being visually impaired and the braille items were interesting.

My friend Beth Finke is also T1 and lost her sight right after her wedding, I think in her early 20s? Which was not the most unusual thing to happen to her. She wrote an interesting book called "Long Time, No See" about it that I'd recommend.

Keep blogging Jen! Great one. I had a good friend who was blind, and learned to write braille (slate and stylus) so we could communicate secretly LOL. The skill is, unfortunately, gone.

I'm actually REALLY enjoying this blogging thing. I really like planning out and writing these posts!

When I was in college my brother (who was in high school) had to shadow me for two days as part of a "career development" project of some sort. He got so bored sitting in my classes that he asked me to braille out the alphabet for him, and then learned it in about an hour and was continually trying to pass me notes. He joked afterward that the professors probably thought he was blind, too!

Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll check that one out for sure!

Excellent Blog Jen. I love the title and the background. I learned a lot. Thanks. Joanne