Meet Juliette, Engagement Officer at RSBC, who has been a dedicated Braille user for about five years. Juliette was born with a visual impairment and five years ago, she decided to learn Braille by herself. In this article, we share Juliette’s inspiring journey of learning Braille and how this valuable skill has made a significant impact on her life.
From complete beginner to grade 2 Braille
In her mid-20s, Juliette faced the reality of her vision deteriorating. Faced with this challenge, she decided to equip herself for the future and learn Braille should she need it. She started her learning journey using the RNIB fingerprint course. She had much apprehension about the difficulty but at the same time she was driven by the desire to learn a new skill that would be handy in future. Her own initiative to learn Braille as a complete beginner also led to a sense of empowerment, she is proud of. Three months later she achieved grade 2 Braille.
“It was really weird at first, learning to take the information in through my fingertips rather than looking at with my eyes. But actually, we had a lot of time to practice, and I really got the hang of it. It was really fun learning the code and practising the reading and I really enjoyed it.”
A smooth transition from print to Braille
About two years ago, Juliette lost the rest of her remaining vision. Thanks to her prior dedication to learning Braille, the transition from print to Braille was remarkably smooth. Having spent a few years practising, she was well-prepared and equipped with the confidence to face this change. Learning Braille became one less thing to adapt to among the many other challenges.
Utilising Braille in the Workplace
Juliette’s Braille skills have not only helped her in her personal life but also opened new opportunities and efficiencies in her professional life. At work, she uses a Braille display provided by Access to Work in two essential ways. Firstly, it is connected to her computer screen reader, helping her check spelling and ensure accuracy when emailing colleagues. Secondly, it serves as a discreet notepad, allowing her to take notes privately and silently, enhancing her efficiency at work.
A valuable skill worth learning
Juliette’s journey to mastering Braille is inspiring and she encourages anyone considering learning Braille not to be discouraged by the perception of difficulty. Learning just the Braille alphabet can be incredibly useful, helping with tasks like reading labels. Moreover, Juliette found that learning Braille was an enjoyable process and a valuable skill to have.
“So, anybody who’s thinking about learning Braille, I would say that a lot of the time, you’ll hear that it’s really difficult and it can be, but I would think it’s worth giving it a go anyway, because it’s such a useful skill to have.”