With New Grant, We’re Ready to Teach with the Best Tools

4 Jun
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Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Dr. Bell is the Director of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University.

We are proud to announce that The Institute on Blindness was awarded a grant of $4,989.36 from the Lagniappe Ladies Foundation to purchase six Perkins Braillers. The Braillers will be used for our graduate students and children receiving outreach services from the Institute. The Lagniappe Ladies, Louisiana Tech University’s ladies-only giving society, awarded 16 grants for projects conducted by Louisiana Tech departments for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Perkins Brailler is, to this day, the most cost-effective means of producing large amounts of hard-copy braille; however, the approximately $750 price tag makes it difficult for our graduate students training to become teachers of blind students to gain access to them. With this grant, the Institute is better prepared to get our future teachers the tools they need.

Over the last four years, the Institute’s mission has evolved to include providing direct service in the form of braille and cane travel instruction to youth who are blind or visually impaired. The news of our effectiveness has begun to spread, and the calls for our assistance continues to grow in an ever-widening arc from Ruston. This has resulted in calls for help from school districts in increasingly distant parishes, such as Red River, Richland, Sabine, and others.

The Perkins Brailler is the only means for braille readers to have low-cost, immediate braille for doing homework, school assignments and personal communications. It is a simple device that looks like an old-fashioned typewriter built in the 1800s. While this device may look like something you might find in an antique shop, it is, in fact, the basic machine used to produce hard-copy braille. The design, form and function has not changed in over 100 years…arguably for good reason.

The standard Perkins Brailler can produce up to 40 cells of braille on each line and up to 25 lines per page. It is—to this date—the most reliable and efficient tool used for the manual production of braille. Braille has been used by blind children and adults for over 200 years and is the only active reading medium for the blind. Audio recordings, synthesized speech and other forms of communication provide information, but do not increase literacy, vocabulary, sentence syntax or basic reading.

We are incredibly grateful to the Lagniappe Ladies and the entire Louisiana Tech University community for continuing to invest in our mission of equipping current students and the next generation of teachers of the blind in this state and around the world.

The following two tabs change content below.
Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Edward Bell, Ph.D., CRC, NOMC

Dr. Bell is the Director of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University.

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