I’ve made a fair amount of progress with learning the Braille alphabet and even in writing. It was very difficult at first to memorize all the new letters, and even more difficult to recognize them through touch without groping the paper obscenely. After practicing on the Brailler I found I didn’t need my “cheat sheet” with the cells on it anymore. I can “sort of” read some things (mainly the disABILITY LINK mission statement) at a glacial pace. I’ve been pretty happy with my progress, then I started transcribing things for practice (mainly the disABILITY LLINK mission statement and some other items I’d written about advocacy) and found that I would have some long pauses, there was some confusion over recalling letters. I figured it was just because I was learning to type again, no big deal, right?
This week, I transcribed another item, it took awhile, but I was quicker than before, then I decided to just write a letter to a coworker for fun. I wasn’t transcribing it, I was just coming up with it off the top of my head. The process was so much quicker! I typed a page in about five minutes, whereas it had taken me almost 35 minutes when transcribing. I can only imagine that the significant lag is due to processing. I have to see the print, visualize it in Braille and then get my fingers to hit the six keys to make each letter. In a psycholinguistics class I took in graduate school we covered online processing of language and this reminded of the articles and experiments I read about. I’ve never seen any studies like this, but then I’ve never actively looked either.
What do you think? Have you noticed similar experience while learning Braille? What about ASL? I’d love to hear about it!