Question and Answer Session 9

This week's discussion was an open-ended question and answer session. We discussed dot alignment, braille contractions, tips using a braille writer, and more.

December 26, 2019

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Audio Transcript


Embracing Braille – Q&A Session December

Presented by Vileen Shah

December 26, 2019

Vileen S: Okay, it's time to get started. This is Vileen Shah, your host and facilitator of the Embracing Braille program. I'm so happy to welcome you all. Today's session, as I call, is your session, which means you are going to ask questions and then, we will answer.

Elyse H: Okay, so, here we go. Dorothy, you're first in line.

Dorothy: Okay, thank you. Thank you, last time we met, we were talking about having difficulty learning braille. I also have had difficulty learning braille. I'm a Lit 4 student in the middle of the course. I guess what I would like to know … Well, first, I'll share that one of the most difficult symbols for me was the opening and closing parenthesis, recognizing those. I wondered if other ones have had a particular difficulty with a symbol or a lesson and I also have a hearing loss. I wanted to comment that I feel like I don't have a choice, I must learn braille. I wonder if there are others out there that can comment on either of those two things, over.

Vileen S: Oh, terrific. I'll briefly answer your question, but certainly because you asked for the comment from others that will be a most suitable thing to do. We would like to know what others feel about that. For instance, open parenthesis, you see there one dot and then, there are three dots. If you are able to recognize those three dots, the numbers are so important, so dot numbers, dot one, dot two and dot six. These are the three dots. When you have difficulty recognizing a single dot, whether it is dot number one or five or six or whatever, you are not sure, feel the next symbol. The next symbol in open parenthesis is one two six. Now, let's resolve the issue about that single dot. You need to feel and compare, it’s my previous theory that I keep telling about dot alignment. If this single dot, does it align with the middle dot of the next letter? When I'm talking about the dot alignment, I mean to say compare it with the next or previous letter or symbol. In this case, we do have the next symbol, which is dot one, two and six. Now, does the dot, the single dot align with dot number one, dot number two? These are two options we have. It’s out of question, it doesn't align with six because that's on the right side. If it aligns with dot number two, it means it is a middle dot.

Another thing that you want to determine is the distance. Now, at least, it is a middle dot, is it dot number two or dot number five because these are the two middle dots. How to determine that? If it has been dot number two, you will see a little distance, little spacing between dot two and the next symbol because the second part of the cell, braille cell that consists of three dots in one row and three dots in the other row, the second row of the six dot symbol is empty, blank. Therefore, there is a distance between dot two and the next Braille letter or symbol. If there is no distance, reasonably like whatever the distance we have between two cells, but not half a cell empty that means it is dot five. In other words, to make it simple, I know where sometimes it is easy to say, difficult to feel or sometimes difficult to understand, but to make it simple, if single dot that you are not sure which one is that once you have determined that it's a middle dot, then if it is touching the next symbol, it is dot five. If it is not touching, not close, then it is dot two. Basically, it's training, you need to train your fingers, your sensitivity to feel the distance, to feel the spacing and to feel the position, dot position, whether it is a middle dot, bottom dot or top dot. Once you master the art of feeling the dot alignment, dot position and dot distance or dot spacing, I am using two different words, dot alignment or dot position, one and the same thing or dot spacing and dot distance, then you will be able to read braille accurately and also, write it accurately. Does that help a little bit?

Dorothy: It does, thank you.

Vileen S: Okay, terrific. Now, let's hear others, so everybody please raise your hands if you have any comments, any addition to this explanation and also, any further question on this issue about understanding symbols in braille or letters in braille. Alright, let's see.

Elyse H: Okay Beth, I see your hand is raised, would you like to add any?

Vileen S: Terrific, yes, Beth.

Beth: I have a difficulty with that too, like even like a square bracket, there's like a dot two and then, like four six and then that one, two, six then that is square brackets because I know a parenthesis is dot five [inaudible].

Vileen S: It's dot five.

Beth: Okay, so that's a square bracket [inaudible].

Vileen S: Are we talking about parenthesis? That’s right, sorry to interrupt. Are we talking about parenthesis?

Beth: Well, kind of in the same order, but this is like brackets, square brackets.

Vileen S: Oh.

Beth: I noticed in magazines. I think is it a dot five and then, for six and then, one two six? I feel like there's a dot, I'm talking about in magazines, Reader's Digest [inaudible].

Vileen S: First of all, what you said indicates that there are three braille signs for the square bracket. No, it's only two. I think I'm not understanding correct or you are little confused between parentheses and brackets. Let's go [inaudible].

Beth: Yeah or I'm not wording it because it seems like in the-

Vileen S: Yeah, that’s okay. No [inaudible]-

Beth: … in the magazine [inaudible]-

Vileen S: … we're all here to learn, so don't worry about that but let me understand you. Let's first talk about parentheses, the question that [inaudible] Dorothy, right? Yeah, so dot five plus dot one two six makes an open parenthesis. When it is a closed parenthesis, it is again dot five and then dot three, four, five. Remember dot five is a middle dot. In the range of a cell, braille cell, you will find it in the middle, it is placed in the middle. When you are able to determine that, “Yes, this is not the top dot or this is not even a bottom dot,” when you are able to determine it's a middle dot, the issue before you to determine only whether it is dot two or dot five. For an open parenthesis, it is so easy because the dot, single dot is close to the next symbol, which is dots one two six. Therefore, it is dot five. Had it been done two, there would have been some space between that single dot and then, dot one two six. There is a whole issue about the dot position and dot alignment. Once again, I may want to repeat, I keep saying it in my email when I write responses to my students that braille is not a system of shapes. Don't go by shapes at all. The shape may look alike, but the dot positions may be different.

For instance, think of the shape of letter B that consists of dots one and two. Now, think of the shape of a semi colon that consists of dot two and three in the same shape. One student wrote all semicolons in place of the grade one indicators. Now, those who have learned this, who are at the stage of learning have completed learning about the grade one indicator, they know it is dots five, six in the same shape like B or like semicolon. Once you, as I said master the art of understanding the dot positions and dot spacing, then you will not be confused about that. Don't go by shapes. That’s the first and foremost principle of braille brain, but go by dot alignment and dot positions.

Okay, so now bracket, bracket consists of dots four, six and then that one, two, six as we use in open parenthesis. The symbol that precedes one two six is different for the bracket. For parentheses, it is dot five. For bracket, it is dot four and six. Then, when it is four and six, again you need to determine, is it one three or four six because in terms of the shape, one three and four six look just same. They are just same as far as the shape is concerned, but no, there is something called spacing because dots four six touches or close to the next symbol, it is not dot one three. Had it been one three, you would see your space. The best way is one of … I remember Allen Kmiotek mentioned that so well one day that you may want to write, deliberately write dot one three and then, dot one two six on a sheet of paper, take that paper out and feel. You will see that there is some space because you made it dots one and three and then, one two six. Then, mark the difference, the way you wrote one three and the way it shows in your book, which is actually four six, you will feel the difference. Again, you may want to practice and learn how to feel the difference between the two braille symbols, the spacing difference and how to feel the difference between one or two or three dots in the same cell, same symbol, whether the dots are bottom, middle or top, whether a dot is a bottom, middle or top or the dots are bottom, middle or top. Once you learn that it's not, braille is yours. It's not that difficult. I know, it needs practice. For new learners, it is sometimes challenging. For people, who have a little issue with finger sensitivity, it is more challenging, but then what's the life if you don't face challenges, if you don't meet challenges? Challenges are to be challenged and then, you will learn anything you want to learn. Good, okay?

Beth: Yes.

Vileen S: Beth, any further question on this?

Beth: Yeah, just like M, N, S, H, I used to have real difficulty, but even then, I go also by the context.

Vileen S: Context, yes. That's the point, yes, exactly. You have to go by the context, you may want to compare one symbol with the next one or the previous one and feel the dot alignment, dot positions. That's the way to go.

Beth: Okay.

Vileen S: Very good, very good. Anybody else? [inaudible] your comment, your questions, yes.

Elyse H: We do have a few hands up, so I'll see if they want to join in.

Vileen S: Oh, terrific, okay.

Elyse H: Okay, let's see, this is Susan Browning I believe.

Vileen S: Oh, Susan.

Susan Browning: I have a question. As you know Dr. Shah that yeah I went to get my guide dog. I've been here and there and haven't done much braille in about a month. Yeah, I'm on that last timeline to better get it in. My question is if somebody has taken that time off, what's the best way to get back into it? Maybe a no-brainer kind of question.

Elyse H: That’s a good question, you taking a break from braille, but good ways to get back into it.

Susan Browning: [inaudible].

Vileen S: Yeah that’s definitely a good point. What exactly the question though? I couldn’t quite understand. Elyse, could you repeat the question for me?

Susan Browning: Okay, sorry, I have my granddaughter here. I haven't been doing braille for about a month, so I know that it’s much easier doing it daily or consistently. I'm on Lesson 8 of Braille Literacy 2, so just wrapping up the alphabets.

Vileen S: Pretty much, yeah. There are two more lessons to go, yeah. You made a tremendously good point that you may want to be consistent with learning braille. That's really very true. You don't want to leave it aside for 10 days, 15 days, take it back and don't do it for another 10 days. No that doesn't help. If you don't find enough time, ladies and gentlemen, you may want to do it at least 15 minutes a day. Those who have been working hard and spending hours that's also a good suggestion here that you don't want to do it constantly. Don't do it for three hours and four hours, take a break. Do it how far you are comfortable, like 30 minutes, 15 minutes, one hour, fine, but take a break in between. That break can be two minutes, five minutes, whatever may you more comfortable, but you should come back to braille with new energy. You may want to reinvigorate yourself, bring the vigor, bring the energy back and then, do braille, but again consistently practicing braille is a way to go.

Yeah, so that's a really good point Susan, appreciate it.

Susan Browning: Thank you.

Vileen S: We go to the next person.

Elyse H: Okay and this is Elyse. I'll just piggyback quickly, getting back into braille, I tend to liken it to getting back into fitness. You got to do some stretching because if you just go into it cold, you're going to get really sore so to speak. Some of my learners ask me, I say, “Well, review some previous lessons before you start the next one, so you get it refreshed in your mind and your mind is more in tune and then ready to learn the new stuff.”

Vileen S: Very true, very true.

Elyse H: You got to stretch before you start running your marathon.

Vileen S: Yeah, very right, yes.

Elyse H: Okay, Roderick, you are next in line. Would you like to add to our conversation?

Roderick: Actually, I think what I was going to say has already been said.

Elyse H: Okay.

Roderick: [inaudible] was Dorothy was talking about having trouble distinguishing the parentheses, the opening parentheses and the closing parentheses are the opposite of each other as you were talking about spacing and alignment is how both the one two six and the three four five are both within the same cell, but they're just opposite of each other. There are other opposites in braille like the and sign and the letter Y and there are others as well. The way to tell that is as the way you were saying, understanding the difference, like spacing and alignment makes … That’s really all my comment is, over.

Elyse H: Thank you Roderick.

Vileen S: Thank you, good. Certainly, yes, [inaudible] right. There are many symbols, they are opposite to each other, like the contraction for and, those are learned contractions because here, we have many students who haven't yet reached there, so they can just listen and keep in mind that that's what you are going to face or encounter when you learn contractions. The contraction for and letter Y are opposite to each other, but simple letters D and F, H and J, at least H and J, they are just opposite to each other. D and F are slightly different from each other, so that's where if you remember the dot numbers for each letter that helps. If you are able to figure out and once again, never ever go by shapes, but if you're able to figure out that these are dots one, four and five, then it is a D, but if it is dots one, two and four that's an F. There are many symbols, just not one or two, just not and why. Of course that was an example Roderick gave, which is really a good example, but several symbols that are opposite to each other.

One more example is open quotation mark and close quotation mark. They look like H and J and one of my students wrote H and J in place of quotation marks. That happens, so that's what I am here to teach. Those are opposite and I do see many students, not all, but some students at least I may say that they often times make an error in writing those opposite signs. In place of and, they write Y. In place of Y, if you would write opposite sign, then it means and. In contracted Braille, it means altogether a different world because your symbol has been put opposite to what it should be. Accuracy is the soul of learning braille. You need to really, really develop the accuracy. In order to reach the level of good accuracy, a good level of accuracy, you may want to understand the system of the dot alignment and dot spacing. These are the basic things, I may want to say that which are not enough emphasized many times when you start learning braille, but you do benefit by attending such sessions as Embracing Braille question-answer and then, you know that there is something called dot alignment, dot spacing and there is something called understanding the importance of these two things. All right, great, we can go to the next person.

Elyse H: Okay, I see four hands up.

Vileen S: Whoa, okay, I'm so happy.

Elyse H: Sassoon you're next in line. Sassoon, can you hear us?

Sassoon: Hello, can you hear me?

Vileen S: I sure am, yeah.

Elyse H: Yes.

Sassoon: Okay, so I'm at the contracted braille. I'm on that stage now. I'm at Lesson 3 now and I wanted to ask like when I write the braille, when I'm using the slate and stylus, so when I write in a line, sometimes if I want to pause my writing, if I go to do another thing or something, then … For example now, I'm writing a sentence. In the middle of the sentence, I wanted to take off my writing. Then after that when I come again and when I start to write, then I count like each cell and I come to that point, where I left. It is that only the way that we can do, or we can manage that situation, or do we have any other alternative? Other thing is like when we have a like piece of braille paper, a piece of paper, where braille is written, not a book, when you try to figure out the first line of that page, we try to rotate it because there are like four sides in a page, so we have to, I just rotate it and I try to figure out the first line. Sometimes, I may hold the paper like upside down. Sometimes, it may be like the first line maybe up. Is there any way to like figure out that sort of thing or like do we have to like figure out the line, read it out and we have to find it like that or is there like… It can be identified, the spaces, the alignment spaces and can we recognize the first line of that paper? Can you just comment on that really?

Elyse H: Good question.

Vileen S: Okay, Sassoon has asked actually two questions. I will address the first one and then, I would ask you to repeat the second one. I'm not sure if I understood it right, but first thing, for those, who had any difficulty understanding this participant, I will repeat the question and hopefully, you will understand me. Okay, the question is about using a slate and stylus while writing Braille. The whole question is if you happen to stop in the middle, you wrote something, you are somewhere at the middle in the line and then, something happens, and you have to stop. Now, obviously, you do not know when you come back, how many cells you used and how many you did not. The answer also she suggested is that she counts the cells, how many cells in Braille she wrote and accordingly, she moves her stylus. Let's say there are 28 cells in a line, and she wrote 12. She counts having the paper in her hand and counts from the top, like from the left to right while reading of course and counts 12. Then, put it back in the paper and then, you put your stylus into each cell and count one, two, three, go up to 12 and then, go to 13 and then, continue there. That's how you can manage writing.

One more way is to verify or identify whether the cells you have counted is correct or not. That is let's say we wrote today is Thursday and in contracted braille, of course, it takes three and three six and three nine 10 11 12. Yeah, fortunately, okay, it takes till 12 cells. Now, you're reading something, and you happen to stop today is and then, you just wrote two [inaudible]. Then, something happened. Now, when you go back, you count the cells and it's like eight cells there you have used. Before writing in the ninth cell, you may have your stylus slightly going into the eighth cell and feel the dots that you have embossed. Your stylus will go in into the dots, which you have embossed, and your stylus will not go into… Do not hit it, just slightly, smoothly, gently-

Speaker 1: [inaudible].

Vileen S: … have your stylus touch the dots, then you will feel that “Yeah, it reads U, letter U one three six.” I mean by stylus, you can read. By stylus, you can feel the dots and then, you can verify. You can ascertain that “Yeah, this is letter U one three six and I'm fine to go to the next cell and write the letter R.” That's yet another way to verify or identify. Okay, all right, so what was your second question? Tell me in brief.

Sassoon: Yeah, like, I wanted to ask like we have a piece of paper. The braille is written there. If you want to find the first line, the beginning line, maybe the beginning paragraphs, so in a piece of paper, like we can hold the piece of paper upside down. Also, we can hold it in the place it wanted to be, like the first line, we will be holding correct. Sometimes, you'll be holding upside down. Sometime, left side like that [inaudible] like that. If we want to identify the beginning of that page, then I go through the lines and I just try to figure out the letters. Then, if the letters are like upside down, then I turn it around and I try to like change the next side of the paper and I just try to read it. Like doing like that I can identify the beginning, but is there any alternate, like we can feel the space outside of the letter? The four sides will be there, so outside of the letter, the space thing can be find that and like identify the beginning of the line.

Vileen S: When you hold a paper upside down and which is very likely, everybody does that and this happens with anybody, including myself. Then, now, we want to find out which is the right way to hold or right way to place it on a desk, so that we can read that braille. Normally, if you're holding it upside down, then when you try to read braille, it doesn't make sense. The dots are there, you can feel the dots, but you cannot make words-

Sassoon: That’s good.

Vileen S: … if you're reading.

Sassoon: Yeah [inaudible] hi mama.

Vileen S: You then have to change the sides and see, again try to read and if the dots make sense that means you're holding it, you're having it rightly placed. It's a trial and error. Try, if it doesn't read correct, doesn’t make sense, then change the side and then, try to read it. You may be still holding or placing it on a desk horizontally or vertically, it may not be right. then, try to do it again. When you start reading, but this is all possible when you know braille, at least basic braille. Otherwise, it's too early for other learners because unless you know braille, it won't be possible for you to determine whether it is upside down or not.

Sassoon: Yeah that's true.

Vileen S: Okay, all right, so let's see. Elyse, do you want to add something here?

Elyse H: I was just going to say some of the papers, the top right-hand corner have page numbers or maybe sometimes, the bottom right hand corner might have a page number. Depending on the paper, it might be hole punched, which is traditionally the left margin, so to orientate that way. Some papers or pages have a little bit of the corner on the top right will be bent or cut in order to orientate the page hopefully sooner, quicker than having to flip it around. I think other people have some ideas because we have a lot of hands up here, which is great to see.

Vileen S: Okay, let’s listen to them.

Elyse H: Yes, right, let's go Allen K. Can you hear us?

Allen K.: Yeah, can you hear me?

Elyse H: Yes.

Vileen S: Yes, sure.

Allen K.: Well, I was going to comment on the spacing from way back when Dorothy was asking a question, but to elaborate a bit on what Vileen was saying, utilize the full cell dots one through six. If you're doing dots one two, then a full cell and then, do dots one two again, then you could feel the spacing before the full cell and after full cell. Do that for each symbol that you have difficulties with. You can feel the alignment and the spacing between that and the full cell and that helps a lot in repeating that function with whatever characters you're trying to identify. Now, as far as trying to find your way back to the slate when you've let go, you can always get some post-it notes and just put the post-it note, where are you ended up with your stylus. Then, you can just easily go back to it and then, lift the post-it note and go to the next cell. That's another way to help you with that as well and that's about all I have at this point, over.

Elyse H: Okay, Jonathan, you're next in line.

Vileen S: Hi Jonathan, yes.

Jonathan: Hello, I have a suggestion about [inaudible] the orientation when you first pick up a page to see whether you have it right side up or upside down because English is written from left to right, most of the lines begin at the leftmost margin. You can feel the first braille cell in each line just run your hand from the top to the bottom. If all of the lines begin at the same place, it's probably right-side up. If they're jagged, if they begin at different places, most likely you have it upside down. If they both feel jagged, the paper might actually be sideways. Sometimes, people write with a sideways orientation. That's what I do first when I pick up a page to determine its orientation, over.

Vileen S: This is a great point, thank you so much Jonathan. Yeah that is true and not only English, most languages are actually read from left to right and of course, with braille also, we read it from left to right. Only we have to write it from right to left when you use a slate, so it's a question of reading now because the question basically Sassoon raised was orientation. Yeah that's right Jonathan because all left lines, I mean the line start on the left margin, they are all at the same level. Each line ends with different ending in the sense that each line does not go up to the last cell. Some cells are left blank, so the other side, the right side of lines are not, what is that consistently aligned as the left side. That's one more way to find out the orientation of paper. Great point, thank you so much. Okay, next one.

Elyse H: Okay, let's see, Beth, you're next in line.

Beth: About orientation, yeah, I have trouble knowing what, like if I … I always had trouble with like straight, just like when I read on the paper or book how I know if it's straight like the pages or even putting it in the Brailler, I do know when it … Somebody said when it's crooked, it doesn't like go up, like when you put the page in all the way, it doesn't go up all the way. When I start like, just say if I take the paper out and then, put it in, then it's kind of hard for me to put it in straight where I lined it up exactly, where I left off. How would I determine that because then it seems like I can't like line it up to the end of like where I left off? Then, you have to write the next line, otherwise, it gets kind of funny, kind of crooked.

Vileen S: Yeah, I got your question. Okay, so we are still talking about writing braille, but now it's a question about using a braille writer. Earlier, the question was about using a slate and stylus and we did get quite a few good number of suggestions, so let's see what more comments or more suggestions we get from our participants, but I will briefly first answer your question. With a braille writer, let's say, you took the paper out and you want to put it back and start where you left off, of course, you are going to count the lines. That’s one way. Let's say you wrote five and half lines, so you may want to put the people back, press your left key, the key on the left which is a line advancing key five times and then, press it once again because the first time when you press is no line. That's how the braille writer works. It has been designed in such a way that before you start writing in braille, you must press the left key, which is line advancing key. You also call a form feeder, but that's too a technical a world. The line advance key, you may want to press one and then, you want to write. That's the way you make the first line. Accordingly, you press this five times and then, press it sixth time, so now you are on the sixth line, which is half written, five and a half.

Then, you want to move your, what is that called, the header up to the letter that you wrote. One good thing about braille writer is that it lets you read in braille while you are writing. You can feel the dots, you can feel that okay you have reached the last letter that you wrote and move further, but there is one difficulty and that many of you might have experienced, those who are using a braille writer that when you place your paper again, somehow the paper, I don't know how it works, but the paper does not produce the same distance on the lines. I don't know what word to use, but it does not go exactly. Let's say we wrote five and a half lines and then, you reach the last letter of this half a line and then, you start writing further, those letters do not stay aligned with the sixth or that half a line because this time when you place the paper, somehow the paper gets inserted slightly differently. Sometimes, you cannot maintain the exact distance between two lines because that’s how the braille writer works. There isn't much we can do about that but the only thing you can do, be sure that you place your paper same way as you did before and do not hurry. Do not put rush in rolling the paper. I mean that helps.

Elyse H: [inaudible].

Vileen S: Let’s see if other people have some more things to add because this is something I tried my best, but let's say Elyse, you want to say something about it?

Elyse H: I see Allen K. has a hand up here, so was going to go ahead and ask. Allen, are you ready?

Vileen S: Oh, he is such a resourceful-

Allen K.: Yeah, what I was going to suggest when you're loading your paper in, start with a three by five card. Don't try and do it on an eight by 11 page. When you're first putting it in and you've got your lever on the top left hand side pulled forward toward you and you tap, you can hear the tap of where the page meets, where it starts at the Braille writer. Do it a couple times to make sure you hear a good solid tap, not a partial tap if it was crooked. Once you get there, make sure you still hold on to that paper really good and then, slide your lever, your left side lever towards away from you, so you lock in. Then, do the one-page advanced line key, which is on the left side towards and once you do that and you take it out again, you make sure you do the exact same thing that you put. Again, if you forget to do that advance key, it's going to send your alignment off. If you don't hear a good solid tap when you're putting that paper in that means you're crooked, so that's just practice. Practice with the shorter paper. The longer paper flops, so it's harder to line it up better on the longer paper, over.

Vileen S: Terrific, experience speaks. Allen is such a resourceful person. We are so privileged to have him with us. Thank you so much Allen, yeah, anybody else, next name.

Elyse H: Okay and I don't see any hands right now, but I did have a couple comments that I had saved from a couple weeks ago, if I can bring that up or somebody else has something, we do have about 10 minutes here.

Vileen S: Yeah, sure. Let's see if somebody has any question. It's their day.

Elyse H: Right, the floor is open, so please join in.

Vileen S: Raise your hands.

Elyse H: Yeah, no hands yet.

Vileen S: Okay, carry on, you go ahead with your comments and suggestions, Elyse, yeah.

Elyse H: Okay, so back on November 21st, somebody was asking about how to write an address on an envelope. They don't have any sight and they don't use a computer, so I wanted to open that up to the community. What are some workarounds that you found for addressing envelopes with no sight and no computer?

Vileen S: You want to write address in print, not in braille, correct?

Elyse H: Correct. Yeah, the mail people haven’t learned braille yet, yeah.

Vileen S: This is something, at least I'm not able to answer, so let's see who can answer this question, any participant can. I'm sure there are people who can do it.

Elyse H: Okay, I see a few hands, let's see, Dorothy, you-

Vileen S: Yes, Dorothy.

Dorothy: Hello.

Vileen S: Hello.

Elyse H: Hi.

Dorothy: [inaudible] thank you. What I do is I have a template for an envelope that I got from Lighthouse for the Blind, but there are probably other places that distribute such a template. Up in the left-hand corner and obviously, this would require that you've seen print before. In other words, you know what the English letter looks like and then, I can use that template and I'm actually drawing then my return address into that portion of the envelope. Then, when I go down, the template’s already set up to indent for the person I'm addressing to and I do the same thing there. I don't know what answer there would be if someone was born blind, they have not seen print, but those are the things that I use, over.

Vileen S: Oh terrific, so you're talking about a template with the three lines in between and you can write your address. Is that the one you're talking Dorothy?

Dorothy: Yes, I am and the other thing I did not say is-

Vileen S: Yeah, go ahead.

Dorothy: … I have a stamp that my daughter ordered for me that's created with all of the return info already on it, so I can just line that ink stamp up with that return address and hit one time and I've got all that return info right there. Then, the only problem that would be less would be the person you're addressing to. Same thing with the stamp for the Free Matter for the Blind over on the right, over.

Vileen S: On the right, yeah. That's just a good idea and it's all good. I may just add one thing. I wasn't born blind, but I became blind at age three, which means I did not learn how to write, but I'm able to write most of the letters in alphabet because, one, I have practiced how to write in print, not enough but quite a bit and two, I have felt the shapes of letters that I found at different places. I don't remember now, but yeah, so by feeling the shapes like on the elevator, yeah. Often time, I do that. When I see the number in braille, I compare it with the print number, cited number and see the shapes, feel the shapes. You can feel those shapes. If you have felt the shapes and if you have practiced how to write in print, you can still do those who are born blind. If you are not learned, you may still learn how to write in print. You may not be able to read what you are writing, of course, that's obvious, but you can still practice and that is helpful when you have to write something in print. Okay, thank you, over. Let's see who else?

Allen K.: Yeah, one thing too, when you're writing with a template, you might want to write in all caps. That way you don't have to worry about the letters that go below the line, like Ps and Qs and things like that. It would be easier for you just to get all the words out and all the letters correct, so you don't have to try and figure out where the line goes down, over.

Vileen S: Oh, thank you so much. Fortunately, if I have to say about myself, I learned only capital letters. That helps, thanks a lot. That’s interesting to know Allen, okay, next one.

Elyse H: Thanks and to piggyback, if you're interested in handwriting, Hadley does have a podcast on handwriting for low vision. That's available on the website now and you can feel free-

Vileen S: Oh that’s interesting.

Elyse H: … to call me or email one of us and we'll be happy to send you that link.

Vileen S: Thank you, yeah. Anybody else?

Elyse H: We do have another hand up and I know we had a question from, I believe I'm looking at my notes, Keisha, so let's see. This is Katrina. Can you hear us?

Katrina: Yes, can you hear me?

Elyse H: Yes.

Vileen S: Yeah.

Katrina: Okay, I was just going to add to what she was saying about the template. They also have a signature guide that I have learned how to use from my daughter. That makes it a lot easier to sign your name when you still have to use print. You can read it. You can actually read it.

Elyse H: That's always a good thing, yeah.

Vileen S: Oh yeah, I use a signature guide every time I have to sign, yes. Thank you, Katrina, okay. Anybody else?

Elyse H: I don't see any more hands here.

Vileen S: [inaudible].

Elyse H: Do we have enough time to go back to Keisha? She had-

Vileen S: Yeah, let’s go. Yeah, how much time we have? My watch says three minutes.

Elyse H: Yeah, I think so. Let’s see, Keisha, are you still on the call here, looking for your name, here you are. Can you hear us?

Keisha: Yes, yes, can you hear me?

Elyse H: Yep.

Vileen S: Go ahead, yes, welcome.

Keisha: Okay, thank you. Just a really quick question that I noticed that in sometimes in web addresses that there's like dots, like I think it’s dots four five six, like in the middle of the web address. I'm wondering what does that mean. Is that like a symbol of some sort or …

Vileen S: It is underscore.

Keisha: Underscore.

Vileen S: Lots of time, there are underscores in between the address, so dots four five six is a sign for the underscore. Now that is one more a bit unfortunate thing that now there are so many different symbols in braille and the systems, particularly the braille displays are not uniform, are not consistent in producing those symbols. Sometimes for the underscore, you will see dots four five six and in some other system, some other Braille display, you will see dots four six. That’s a little bit confusing, but anyway, the answer to your question is that's an underscore.

Keisha: Okay, thank you.

Vileen S: Okay, good catch, all right. So anybody else?

Elyse H: I don't see any more hands up right now.

Vileen S: Okay, so thank you everybody, all participants who joined us on this holiday day I can say. I appreciate your participation, your input, your suggestions, your comments and of course, your questions. Do not hesitate to ask. No question is dumb, so save your questions for the next session, bye now.