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August 28, 2009
Dear President Obama:
In reflecting upon the profound ways in which Braille has positively influenced my world, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those individuals and entities whose foresight and proactive approaches made it possible for me to learn the code and use it in all facets of my life. Blind since birth, I began learning Braille at the age of four; once an adult, I realized, in my personal and professional travels, how fortunate I was to have received such early and comprehensive instruction. Sadly, most children who require Braille to become truly literate (able to both read and write effectively and quickly) are denied access to Braille instruction. Several factors are responsible for this tragedy, but the result is the same: those able to read and write Braille efficiently and productively stand a much greater chance of becoming competitively employed and fully integrated into society than those who do not.
I can say unequivically that I have used the Braille code in nearly every context from a preschooler scribbling stories for his parents to adult jottings of grocery lists and love notes to my wife to teaching and producing it for others professionally. With each passing year I am increasingly appreciative of those whose goal was for me not only to learn Braille, but to make it an integral part of my existence--providing me with opportunities to enjoy countless activities and benefits.
I thank you for the boldness with which you have championed the rights of all Americans, including the blind. Mr. President, I urge you to do everything possible to further the initiatives of those who seek to augment Braille instruction for all students who need and deserve it, preparing teachers of the blind and supporting families of blind children so they can teach the code at home --the place where it should start. As I do for myself, I pray that God will grant you wisdom and direction in all your initiatives and that He will bless you and your precious family. Thank you again for taking the time to read this; God bless America.