Performing brain surgery requires a steady hand and so does reading braille, but that is where the similarity ends.
People often tell me that it would be impossible for them to learn to read braille, "Those dots are so small". You'd think that I was asking them to perform brain surgery without years of education and practice. But, braille doesn't deserve this negative response. After all, Louis Braille wouldn't have spent time creating a communication system composed of raised dots if the intended target, people who are blind or partially sighted, couldn't read it.
For me, braille isn't just about reading books. Braille means increased independence. Using braille, I can identify the numerous spice jars in my spice rack without any assistance or the use of additional aids. I can find the correct elevator button in an unfamiliar medical building. And, most importantly, I can read all the classic children's books to my two adorable three-year-old nieces.
I want you to know that learning to read braille isn't nearly as hard as you might think. I mean, really, how difficult could it be? I learned to read braille over a weekend.
Yes, I admit that it takes lots of practice to be able to read a braille book with a moderate amount of speed, but, as I said earlier, there is more to braille than just reading books. You may like to learn to read braille in order to create a portable phone book, label all those debit and credit cards in your wallet, or simply play a game of bridge, poker, or Scrabble with your family and friends. If you are learning to read braille for any of these reasons, then reading large quantities of braille text with lightning speed isn't that important.
If you would like to increase your independence by learning to read braille, contact your local CNIB office for more information. Who knows, maybe one day you'll be reading braille with the precision hand of a brain surgeon!