So, I’ve learned the Braille alphabet, and some punctuation (period, comma, quotes). I can even read (veeeeeeeery slowly) some items. I was so proud of myself for learning the alphabet that I started trying to read other items out in the community. Imagine my shock when I go to read the sign by the Men’s room door and there are only two cells. “That’s odd,” I thought, “and one of those is’t even a letter.” I look over to the women’s room sign and it has the same strange non-letter that I didn’t recognize, I had just had my first interaction with a contraction.
At work the next day I grab a booklet from the lobby from the library printed in Braille and I could only get about half of the items on the front page. I honestly felt a little deflated, I had put so much effort into learning the alphabet and punctuation, only to learn that most items are printed in Grade/Type 2. A cursory glance told me that I still had a lot to learn and cover. I now only know about three of the contractions (thanks to figuring out “en”) and I have “ed” and “and.” So, I’m still technically illiterate.
In the near future (once I have evenings free again) I hope to start a “Braille club” at disABILITY LINK. I have some interest from a couple of staff members, and can hopefully get some of you interested to join the Braille journey with me. In the meantime, I will try to sneak in a few whole word and sound contractions to build up my repertoire. Any advice on useful ways of learning the contractions? I’m also looking for a useful course to try in my free time.