WBU-AP(Junior Group) Fine work
“Braille in My Everyday Life”
Indonesia Deasy Tresnawati Sari Dewi(21/Female)
Since my childhood I had great difficulty seeing; I could not see objects, writing was not legible from a distance, and I was not able to recognize a human face. I had my eyes checked but the doctors could not discover anything wrong with me. So I was only given glasses to improve my eyesight. Consequently, my parents did not worry about me as they thought my eyesight was all right; they did not realize that I could actually see only from a very close distance.
Thus, my life ran quite normally. I befriended other normal children about my own age. In fact, my parents had sent me to a public school for my education. It was here that my problems began to show.
I had to take the front seat in the class-room so that I could see the writing on the blackboard. However, it was not of much help to me as I had to go up close to the board in order to copy the notes. Fortunately, my teacher and my class-mates were very understanding and did not make a fuss.
I also experienced difficulty reading my school books. Not only did I have trouble having to read close to the page but I often got dizzy after reading for too long. Once my teacher gave us a quiz test and my class-mates had to leave me behind so that I could complete my work. In fact, I frequently submitted my work late and I achieved very unsatisfactory grades in class.
Before going on to junior high-school, my parents had my eyes checked again. This time I underwent an intensive examination and the doctor’s diagnosis was that I was losing my sight. The doctor said that I was having a nervous abnormality which was causing my eyeballs to move constantly so that I was unable to focus properly. Despite the diagnosis, I remained in public school. Now I had great trouble following the lessons.
One day my mother heard from a radio talk-show about a special school for the blind. Without waiting much longer, she promptly had me transferred to the school. At first I was perplexed as I observed the behavior of my blind school-mates.
The teacher introduced me to Braille and my friends gave me extra lessons after school hours. Not long afterwards, I was able to master Braille but I often read it with my eyes. However, I did put in much effort to practice reading by touch in order to make my fingers more sensitive.
Eventually, I mastered the skill and I could now read the books provided by the school. In addition, I took notes on various subjects presented by the teachers in class.
At home I changed my learning style and I no longer studied in a brightly lighted room. Even without the light being on, I could carry on with my studies. Sometimes my siblings were quite envious of me because they too wished they could read in the dark.
I began to build a strong relationship with my blind friends. We corresponded with each other and we did not have to use stamps for our letters. This was because the country had a special policy which exempted our Braille letters from postage duty. Truly, after knowing Braille, my life had become much more meaningful.
Three years passed by very quickly for me in the special junior high-school. However, armed with Braille, I was very happy to go on to senior level at the normal public school. I was prepared to face the new situation where I would be reintegrated with ordinary sighted students. The senior high-school was Islamic-based and so there were many lessons in the Arabic language. Thus, every day before the lessons began; we would recite the Al-Quran in turns. Fortunately, equipped with Braille skills, I could now read even Arabic Braille fluently. So when it came to my turn, I just simply opened my Quran to the page and recited the verses with ease and confidence. Both my teacher and class-mates were amazed as they heard me chanting the holy verses so smoothly.
And so now I had little difficulty following the learning process. I had no problems dealing with Mathematics, Chemistry or even Physics. The special Braille symbols were most useful in enabling me to understand what was being taught.
I had another advantage -- I could use Braille shorthand. This speeded up my writing considerably during the teacher’s dictation. My Braille also enabled me to gain good scores in the quizzes.
Every time I got back the report-book, I felt a special happiness. I would usually be ranked among the first three top students. While I may not belong to the superior category, I was glad to know that I had achieved quite a lot.
Today I am studying in university. Thanks to the raised dots of Braille, I have been able to reach this academic level of education. However, my use of Braille has not limited my opportunities to education only. I am also able to participate in political activities -- by using a special tool known as the Braille Template; I can exercise my right to vote in the general elections. Moreover, in various public areas such as the hospital, the elevators are equipped with Braille signage and Braille buttons which make it easy for me to move from place to place. This truly enhances my independence.
Indeed, there is something fantastic and extraordinary beneath the Braille dots as I touch them. They bring such great benefits into the lives of blind people like me. These dots may be so tiny but they can spur us on to achieve academic heights, to participate in economic affairs, and to excel in the political arena.
Therefore, it is very important to teach Braille to the blind as early as possible. In fact, “Braillisation” (or the application of Braille) should be implemented continually in society. This is especially true in making public facilities accessible to the blind, thereby enabling them to enjoy their freedom and independence.