My husband Murray and I are now teaching a braille transcribing class at a women’s correction facility.
This is not for people who are visually impaired, but to train students to produce braille books and other documents for those who do need to read braille.
Braille transcribing is much harder to learn than braille reading. I found this out when I took the transcribing class, after I’d been a braille reader for nearly forty years.
Transcribing has many rules about how to use and not use the different braille symbols, formatting the documents, much more. It is a tough course, and Murray and I appreciate how hard the women in our class are working to accomplish this difficult skill.
Part of what I do is come up with lessons to practice transcribing skills, as well as actual braille documents for the students to read, in order to practice proofreading.
Brailling out these reading practices is a challenge for me. The braille writer I use is similar to a manual typewriter. If I make a mistake toward the end of the page, I have to do the whole page over. I am so tempted to scratch out the mistake and explain it to them, but I want to encourage them to make their documents as perfect as possible.
So, yes, I have started many pages over. I also have to make sure not to use symbols which they haven’t learned yet. All this helps me appreciate the effort the women are putting into their work.
This week my reading practice lesson ended up being a story about my Mom’s dog, Flash. Next time I see Flash, I need to thank him for giving me material for a lesson.
Flash is the name of my mother’s dog.
His favorite day is Sunday because my brother Rodney brings treats.
When Mom leaves the house she says, “Flash, stay here; you’re in charge.”
The cats know now that Flash is old, he won’t eat their food.
When he was younger, he used to jump on everyone who came near.
Sometimes he ran so fast to jump on Mom, she feared he might knock her down.
He still takes his work seriously and barks every time we drive up.
My brother Jim gave Flash to my father as a puppy, and he brought Daddy joy for many days.
Those are some sweet memories I have, thinking of Daddy with his dog.
Mom never has been a real pet lover. “Dogs and cats need to stay out of the house,” she said. But I know she likes going out on the front porch to talk to old Flash.