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My daughter, now five months old, has been recognised as "severely blind" (until she herself can tell us different) from some completely unknown disorder (literally, one in 7.4 billion!).

Anyway, I thought now might be a good idea to start learning Braille so that I can help teach her when she reaches that age. I'm just wondering if anyone here has had to learn Braille as an adult and whether you think it's worthwhile for a parent of a blind baby to learn in preparation for teaching their child to read someday?

  • I am sure adults have - some due to blindness later in life, some for reasons similar to yours. Asking how it went is unfortunately opinion based and therefore not good for this site. Nevertheless, welcome to Parenting SE, we look foreward to more questions and answers from you. – Stephie Sep 21 '15 at 19:46
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    As it's written I agree this is off topic - this is not a discussion forum, it is a Q&A site. However, asking for suggestions for how a parent may learn to teach Braille (which would possibly include learning it oneself) might be on topic if phrased appropriately. – Joe Sep 21 '15 at 20:22
  • This isn't an answer to your question, but I've had the pleasure of working with a number of blind people in the past, and they've all been amazing people in their own ways. An excellent book that gives sighted people an insight into what it's like to be blind is Crashing Through. It gives you a whole new perspective on what blind people can do, given a chance. Also, read about Daniel Kish who is an expert at human echolocation. I'll stop now. – Greg Hewgill Sep 21 '15 at 20:26
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    Welcome to Parenting S.E.! Hope we can keep this valuable topic open by rephrasing the question a bit; it should still fit with your objective here I hope. – Brusselssprout Sep 22 '15 at 10:42
  • As a sighted person, you won't have to learn what it feels like; you'll be able to sight read it. I haven't "read" Braille for sometime now and so have forgotten a large portion of it. Anyhow, I did teach myself to sight-read Braille, so yes, it is possible. – L.B. Aug 26 '16 at 14:41
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Welcome to the world of special needs parenting!

First, to address your immediate concern, my mom learned to read braille as an adult as part of her occupational therapy assistant job to teach it to a blind child. It wasn't terribly difficult to learn it well enough to teach the child at the same pace he was learning it. You don't have to memorize it, do it by feel, or at a rapid pace like she will, although you will probably end up naturally being able to read most of the characters by sight.

However, the thing about special needs parenting is the view is very different to an experienced insider than what you might see on a Hollywood movie or even from a friend or relative. My mom was teaching braille way before smart phones with cameras and text recognition were cheap and ubiquitous, but computers had already begun to displace much of the need for braille. You will discover other technologies that are surprisingly more useful than braille and other challenges that are surprisingly more challenging than reading. Try not to worry too much until you start to work on her actual individual needs.

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This is not an authoritative answer, by any means, but I'd guess that, especially for kids' books, you would have the lines of Braille right under the lines of visual text, so you could read it aloud at the same pace as your child is following with their hands.

It would almost have to be done that way, actually, because if you learned Braille, yourself, how could you both read the same text (you aloud, child following along) at the same time? Only one set of fingers would be able to feel the dots at any time.

So, if you'd want to do that to be more tuned into what it's like for your child, great, but I don't think it would be necessary.

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