Losing sight, whether because of an accident or medical condition, is a terrible ordeal that requires multiple lifestyle changes in order to adapt. Of course, if it is your spouse, child or another loved one who has become blind, then you may feel a responsibility to help them transition to a new life without vision.
In order to accommodate them on this new journey in life, consider helping them learn Braille and even learning alongside them to show your support. Below are a few things you should know in order to get started:
The Basics of Braille
According to the National Federation of the Blind, it is estimated that nearly 6,637,000 individuals across the country are stricken with a form of visual disability. For those with this disability, the only way to read may be a system called “Braille.”
Braille is a tactile writing system that assigns a set of raised dots to each letter of the alphabet, and allows visually disabled individuals to “read” and gather information by running their fingers across a page. Created in 1829 by Louis Braille, this has become an extremely widely used form of reading for the blind.
Start Slowly and Simply
Because your loved one may only be used to using his or her eyes to read and gather information, the transition to reading braille using your fingers may be an incredibly difficult one. Reading braille requires relying on touch to understand text, and may be frustrating when first beginning.
In the beginning then, start by working solely on the alphabet, and helping your loved one train his or her fingers to be able to recognize each letter individually. The braille letters are written within the confines of a six-dotted cell, and were created using a basic pattern to delineate the differences between all of the letters.
Though this may seem difficult to manage at first, diligent and slow practice will help your loved one’s fingers eventually be able to quickly recognize the appearance of letters.
Once able to identify different letters in a rapid fashion, move forward by trying to decipher basic texts written in braille, such as children’s books or other simple pieces of literature. Again, doing this slowly and deliberately will give your loved one a better chance of gathering the information without mistakes.
Finding Resources for Reading Braille
In order to begin learning how to read braille then, you will need to find a variety of resources. Because it is all based on a system without vision, the Internet is a domain that may be difficult to use, though certain programs exist to aid the blind in using computers and surfing the Web.
To find braille texts and instructions in New York, consider visiting the New York Public Library and learning about their Braille book-by-mail program for residents of the area.
For other resources that can help your loved one learn how to read braille, as well as help you and your loved one learn about living without sight, contact the American Foundation for the Blind. Headquartered in New York City, this organization has a plethora of information and resources that can be of help.
Seek Legal Help for Your Loved One’s Injuries
Relearning how to live without vision because of an injury can be a difficult time for all of those involved. If your loved one’s visual disability is preventing him or her from going back to work, he or she may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
The Social Security Listing of Impairments covers visual disabilities in Section 2.00 Special Senses and Speech. Section 102.00 of the Childhood Listings includes visual disabilities.
Contact Markhoff & Mittman, P.C. today to understand your options, and let us help you begin filing a disability claim. Call us at 866-205-2415.