Braille Monitor                          October 2019

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Bells Ringing throughout the Nation

It is exciting to work with children and to help them find the magic in words and particularly words on paper. Far too many blind children are steered away from Braille by the schools that should be teaching them, so we do what we can to fill the gap.

Not only do we teach Braille, but we give these young people experiences to remember. In Pennsylvania the program took its students to the state capitol, toured each of the chambers, and had a meeting with no less than Governor Tom Wolf. He was interested in them: their names, where they lived, and what they were doing in this program.

Participants in the Pennsylvania BELL program pose in front of the state capitol building.

BELL student rides a recumbent bicycleBut everyday life is also about the little things such as learning to pour liquids and make play dough, and all without worrying about how much or little one can see. Sight has nothing to do with enjoying exploring the water jets of a swimming pool or riding a modified bicycle. Sight must not keep us from touching the untouchable, even when what we want to touch is an alligator. Boise NFB BELL Academy students got hands-on and personal with several reptiles and arachnids, including a tarantula, a giant tortoise, and the alligator pictured. The session with Reptile Adventures ended with seven of the students holding a fifteen-foot albino python!

Learning is about coming upon new things, understanding them, and making them part of the rich tapestry that should be the life of every blind person. This is why we have bell ringers and why we work so hard to make the BELL Academy a success.

A BELL student (center) enjoys using a Perkins Brailler while a BELL teacher and another participant smile with him.

Annie uses nonvisual pouring skills while making play dough.
A Federation friend holds a young alligator to allow BELL participants to touch the reptile.
A young man feels the water jet at the pool.

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