by Hy Cohen
What do those strange dots mean and how can anyone read them with their fingers? Do people who are blind know sign language? How do people who are blind read print papers? Can they use a computer? Questions like these are asked by children and adults all the time. An Edmonds Cub Scout Pack was about to learn the answers to those questions, and more.
During one day in March, members of Cub Scout Pack 300 visited the Louis Braille School to work on their communication badge.
The children learned what braille is and how it is made. They experienced writing braille on a brailler as well as reading braille with their fingers.
Another part of the visit was spent using a talking computer, reading printed material on a CCTV (a powerful video magnifier), and brailling their names into a computer that embossed what they wrote onto braille paper.
The boys learned that people who are blind can control the computer with keyboard commands instead of a mouse.
The Scouts explored our “feeling library.” At first glance, some of them thought they were “just toys” until they realized that children who could not see real life animals, large machinery, and other such items would not know what these things looked like unless they touched a model with their hands.
One of the most important things the Cub Scouts learned is that just because someone’s eyes are bad does not mean he or she cannot communicate and fully participate in the world around them.