We are delighted to launch our second series of Parent Braille Club!
This February, our new cohort of sighted parents of visually impaired children start their Grade 1 Braille course.
Being the only Braillist in the family can sometimes feel isolating for the young and visually impaired, but Braille can also feel daunting to sighted parents, too.
Many people aren’t aware that, for sighted people, it’s possible to learn Braille visually rather than by touch, which is how parents will learn in our 9-week course.
The course outline and details can be found here:
We asked one of our mentors, Nathan, why learning Braille is so important:
‘I feel that a parent of a VI child learning braille would benefit (from this course) because they would have an appreciation for how hard their child works to learn it and how challenging using braille can be. It will also help in their child’s development as they can help each other and affirm their knowledge.’
Meet the Team!
Both of our course leaders are volunteers who have lived-experience of parenting VI children. They have devised and created the course content from scratch and have an infectious passion for supporting families with VI children!
Laura and Elin will be leading the lessons for the Braille course, walking the group through an introduction to grade one Braille through practice tasks and activities.
Laura is both mum to a VI daughter, Tiri, now 21, and also runs Moorvision, a support group for families of visually impaired children in Devon and Cornwall.
Laura says, “I originally learnt Braille during the 12 years I spent transcribing work at RNIB and I can’t say how useful that has been in my Moorvision work as we have many children who are Braille users. It is so much more inclusive when we can produce everything from activity instructions, to badges, cards, menus etc, in Braille for them. I love Braille, I find it really fascinating and with modern technology, still feel it very much has a place in today’s world.’
Having trained as a primary school teacher, Elin’s interest in Braille stems from when her son was diagnosed as completely blind at the age of four months.
“At that point it was a rather daunting prospect but I was keen to teach myself as much as I could about this new world we were entering. He is now 14 years old and uses Braille every day, both at home and school, electronic and hard copy. I am very excited about the “Parents Braille Club” that LOOK UK are running, it is something I would have loved to have been able to take part in when I was wondering how to weave Braille into our lives. I am looking forward to sharing ideas, learning and working with you all.”
Our marvellous team of mentors will be supporting all parents attending the Braille Club course. Mentors will be on hand to share their own lived-experiences of Braille, to offer support and encouragement, to swap tips and ideas, and to talk about how Braille is relevant for them today in their adult lives. At our bi-weekly drop-in and support sessions, mentors will be telling us a bit about themselves and how Braille is relevant to them.
‘I’m Andrea, I Work for Nat West and I’m passionate about this course because without Braille I wouldn’t be able to do my job.
My mum is blind and a Braillist but I still didn’t want to learn it. I started when I was 10 when I was told that I was going to go completely blind, but I was slow and wasn’t fluent until I was about 14.
I learnt in school and then my mum would check it over. We have been writing Braille letters to each other and we still criticise each other’s Braille!’
‘My name is Megan and I’m 28. Blind from birth, I have used Braille from an early age. It has been instrumental to my love of literature which began with braille volumes consumed under the covers in childhood! I am looking forward to helping you make sense of the dotty stuff and hopefully giving you some idea of how much fun it can all be.’
‘My name is Nathan, I’m 31 and from Oxford. I am a Look mentor, a client advice officer at the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind and the founder of Blind Ice Hockey UK. I started learning braille during the Covid 19 pandemic and have completed Grade 2. I am still building my skills but am very passionate about braille and integrating it into my daily life. I can read by touch and by sight when heavily magnified.’
‘I’m Natalie, I’m 23, I’m currently a Maths Masters student and also work for the BBC in the Assistive Tech team. There’s a dangerous myth about Braille that Braille is outdated and not useful. I don’t think it needs to be boring! I started learning Braille when I was 9 and would play games with myself to help me learn. It’s great to know that parents want to be involved and help their children. The Braille Club will help people learn and will make it fun and interesting.’
‘I am Lacey and I am one of the mentors at Look. I am 25, from the West Midlands and have been a mentor with Look for two years. I was born blind and have been a Braillist since I began learning when I was 9. I have studied Special Needs and Inclusion Studies at the University of Wolverhampton and have been playing music since picking up the flute when starting secondary school. I am excited to be part of this course and I am looking forward to meeting everyone.’
‘I’m Jack, I’m 25 and currently work as a data analyst. I’m looking forward to supporting the braille club to share my experiences, having used braille heavily throughout school and throughout my maths degree. I think it’s a great opportunity for parents to learn braille, too.’
‘Hello, I’m Chris! I have Retinitis Pigmentosa, with useful peripheral vision. Currently, I am completing my PGCE in Primary SEND at University of Birmingham.
I started to learn Braille when I was in college – I wanted to be proactive because I knew there was the potential that I would lose all of my sight and Braille would be another way to access information in later life.
Self-tutoring myself for a number of years, I wanted to help parents of children with a vision-impairment to learn how to understand these funny little dots, sharing my techniques and to answer any questions they have about life as a vision-impaired adult.’
To find out more about our brilliant Braille Club, click below. Please note that this current course is now full; to register your interest for future courses, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org