A small number of children with severe visual impairment in our mainstream primary and secondary schools will need to learn to read and write in Braille.
All the Visual Impairment Specialist Teachers are qualified and experienced in teaching Braille to children. Teaching begins in the early years with pre-Braille skills, when the children learn to develop their tactile skills through play.
Braille is then introduced by the Specialist Teacher. The pupils are also supported by the County Braille Instructor who works directly with pupils, and trains school support staff in learning Braille, alongside access to the RNIB Braille training. The Braille Instructor also helps school support staff with the adaptations of print resources into Braille.
The pupils’ skills in Braille are then developed through their school life as they progress through primary school, and then onto secondary school.
The skill of reading tactile diagrams and pictures is also taught. Braille explanations are included in tactile diagrams.
Pupils begin learning their Braille on a manual Perkins Brailler, before moving onto a specialist computer Brailler, usually in the upper years of primary school. The service provides this specialist high-cost equipment for pupils’ use in school. School staff are trained by the VI team on the production of Braille via specialist computer software and hardware.
Specialist ICT skills are taught as appropriate alongside the Braille. These include touch-typing and access technology as needed.
You can view our presentation (about using braille with pupils in Essex schools) to the Regional Braille network (July 2017) below
Parents and Braille – It is helpful for parents of braille-users to try to learn braille themselves. This article (RNIB) highlights 3 main online sites and support groups for parents of children with vision impairments.