Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
A group of Fairfield youngsters listened to a program on Braille and other services for blind people and those with visual disabilities Tuesday morning at the Fairfield Public Library.
Denise Bean, youth services librarian for the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, spoke to a group of mostly preschool-age children from St. Mary’s preschool. She brought with her a brailler, a device for creating Braille on paper, which puts raised bumps on the paper that a blind person can read with their fingers (called “scrubbing”).
Bean said it’s important for blind children to learn Braille because it helps their development. She said when blind children are asked to learn solely through listening, they miss out on understandings things like grammar, punctuation and spelling.
Bean sends out about 125 books in Braille every week to people who request them. She said the service is free, and the people who receive the books tell her what a blessing it is to receive them. Her office has more than 50,000 Braille books in its collection.
Bean said Braille can be found everywhere when you start to look for it.
“It’s on medicine bottles, public buildings and elevators,” she said.
Bean talked about how governments have begun to accommodate people with visual impairments, by adding raised bumps on the sidewalks to let blind people know they are at an intersection. She said it’s now common for crosswalks to have an audible countdown or beeping sound to let blind people know it’s safe to cross, too.