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August 26, 2009
Dear President Obama:
Braille has given me a full life. I learned Braille as a child and have used it for sixty years. I did my schoolwork, took notes in college, kept records for my businesses, and read to my children and grandchildren. When Braille notetakers became available, I got one and use it constantly. It is much simpler for me than voice output on a standard computer. I have written many articles and some books. Generally I write them in Braille, formerly on the Braillewriter, now on the Braille notetaker.
I have taught many blind people to read Braille. I know how many students, both children and adults, are not encouraged to understand that they can read and write Braille when they could do so very well. This is a tragedy for each of them. It limits their literacy, their productivity, and their flexibility.
It is critical that we get back to teaching Braille to the majority of blind children and adults. I want them to have as rich a life as I have had. The National Federation of the Blind has many members who are excellent teachers and some who have written materials to be used in Braille instruction. I know that these are being used, but we must require schools to teach Braille when others learn to read print. This is the best way to make blind people literate. Making this transition is worth the time and money it will cost, for both the blind and the sighted. I am looking forward to reading and writing Braille as long as I live.