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August 28, 2009
Dear President Obama:
I’m originally from rural North Carolina. I lost my sight in my early teens. Before I lost my vision, blindness and Braille were foreign concepts to me. It’s also worth mentioning that I was a sighted speed-reader in junior high school. For at least a year after I started to lose my sight, I felt like a ship without a rudder. My approach to every aspect of my life had to change drastically. School was particularly frustrating. I didn’t attend a school for the blind.
Learning Braille helped me to organize my school assignments and to manage personal tasks. Braille allowed me to adjust to my new circumstances. Braille became in every respect my print-replacement communications tool.
Today I'm a senior analyst with the federal government. In this age of gadgets and gismos, I use a refreshable Braille display to provide tactile access to the information on my computer monitor. My Braille display is forty cells, equivalent to a half line of text on the computer. The eight-pins in each cell refresh or reconfigure as I move around the screen with my cursor. As a blind contract administrator, I continue to use Braille as a vital reading and writing tool.