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Helen Parker
Rolla, Missouri

August 29, 2009

Dear President Obama:

Louis Braille was a genius. He formed characters from six raised dots, enabling the blind to read and write. It was a challenge for me at the age of forty-four and in the middle of raising seven children to learn Braille; however, I was grateful to have the opportunity.

Although I was only a housewife, my knowledge of Braille has been a blessing and a means of independence in many ways. I have my cookbooks, recipes, addresses of over a hundred people, and a long list of telephone numbers. I can label important mail, identify items in the kitchen, keep my bank statement up to date and intact, and order groceries over the telephone. I know blind people who have important occupations and careers, but they could not have done so without the knowledge of Braille.

Today only 10 percent of blind children are being taught Braille. We, the blind, believe it is as important for blind children to learn to read and write Braille as it is for sighted children to learn to read and write print. Braille must not fall away. Being a staunch believer in you, Mr. President, I am hoping means can be provided to improve and correct this situation.

Helen Parker