EBU(Junior Group) Fine Work
“Braille Changed My Life”
Lithuania Normantas Prušinskas(11/Female)
I, Normantas Prušinskas, am a student in the fifth form. I live in Lithuania and my native town is Anykščiai. I am a student at Antanas Baranauskas Secondary School. I really enjoy reading books and playing computer games. My most favourite game is football. I look forward to summer so I can go with friends to the stadium, run and kick the ball, and score goals. Even though I cannot see, I am good at scoring goals.
The Braille script has changed not only my life but also the life of my family and people around me. My family never expected that Braille would ever be necessary. There had never been a blind person in my family. I am the first one and a very welcome child. Now that I have a brother and sister, they help me when needed. I grew up like all children and was able to see, but unfortunately not for long. Beginning at the age of 3, my eyesight gradually got weaker. My mum took me see doctors, but it was unfortunately in vain. The doctors could not save my eyesight because they found that I had a blood infection which damaged my eyes. At first they wanted me to have surgery, but they did not perform it; they were afraid this would totally damage my eyes. Now we are waiting, maybe someday in my life medical science will improve and I will be able to see again. I am not sad now, I enjoy every day. Especially when the sun comes out and I can enjoy it, because then I know that it is warm outside. I run to the yard to play.
When I was 5 years old, I started attending pre-school. My brother helped me at the pre-school, because we were in the same group. Then I had yet not learned Braille. I learned to write using the letters for sighted people because I still could see a little bit. Besides, we had never heard about Braille then. We found out only when I had to go to school. Then my parents had a lot of trouble with me. They did not want me to attend a special school for the blind, and I did not want to go anywhere either. Then the chairman of the blind in Panevėžys (Aloyzas Vilimas, director of the Panevėžys and Utena Regional Centers for the Blind—editor’s note) went with us to schools and asked headmasters to allow me to attend. Unfortunately, one school did not accept me, but then we went to another school and there was this pleasant headmistress who took me to her school to learn. She telephoned the Vilnius School for the Blind and said that there was a blind boy in Anykščiai who did not know Braille. Then a few days later, a teacher came who knew how to use Braille. She scolded my mother badly that I was not able to write as other blind people do. On that day, we were showed how to learn the script and were given a copy of the alphabet. My mother helped me. I learned Braille pretty quickly, perhaps in a month. And my mother had to spend a lot of time learning until she remembered all the letters and numbers. When the same teacher came once again, she was delighted and praised me for learning everything very quickly. Now I can read, write, and count with the rest of the children. Although it is difficult for me to keep up with them, I do try not to lag behind. My mum helps me at school; she is at school together with me since the teacher cannot manage with so many children. This is how I learn. I am very glad that I have such a good mother who is very caring. My mum spends much time with my books; she reads them so that then she can explain everything to me, because it is not so easy to learn everything and it is becoming more difficult as time goes on. School children always ask how I can read with my fingers; they cannot do it. Sometimes they ask me to teach them to write. So I can also teach someone.
In my family only my mum knows Braille, because Dad works and does not have the time to learn, and my brother has enough of his own lessons. My sister is still small; she started to attend only the first form at school this year. My parents love me very much and want me to study well and not give up in any situation. At school my classmates and teachers are very caring because they think that it is very difficult for a blind person. Now I am in the fifth form and I am very happy that I can study together with all healthy children, go to the same school, and learn, just using my own alphabet, Braille. The best teachers teach me at my school.
I am happy living with my family, with people who were not afraid and helped me to learn Braille. If I could not use Braille, I would not be able to read books and life would be boring and uninteresting. Now I have a lot of good friends who understand me and help me to integrate into the world of the sighted. So this is my interesting life.