Today Matt and I took Hanna to the CNIB office to have a meeting with Lanna, a specialty teacher from W Ross School for the Blind. Last year we met with her, and she had some pretty interesting things to say and it was very helpful to me, giving me teaching technique ideas for home. When we had the opportunity to meet her again, I jumped at it.
Today, it was very informative as well.
Hanna's braille teacher, Maryse, has been working with her for some time now, and we have a morning routine that we've gotten pretty comfortable with, going with all of the instruction from Maryse.
Turns out though, Maryse has been going about it the wrong way. She usually works with adults, and older kids, and so her teaching methods are different. She's been teaching it in a way that includes print. So, for example, her spelling words are printed onto a sheet of paper nice and big, and then we braille over the words so Hanna has exposure to both at the same time. I would assume that this is the best way to go about it too. Maryse is also blind, so she obviously was trying to teach Hanna the best way she thought to teach it.
Turns out, teaching it that way is going to slow her down because instead of learning the shapes of the braille letters, she's memorizing the number dots and counting the dots and placement of dots of each letter. Sounds pretty time-consuming.
Totally makes sense to me now, and we will be changing our routine now to teach braille in a totally new way. I have to do everything I can to not let her look at the braille letters/words. We will work on print letters and words in the mornings, and then when she gets visually fatigued, we will move onto the braille lesson so she wont want to use her vision.
We also learned today that large print (size 20-24 font) is too small for her. At that size, she has to bring her face so close to the paper (her nose literally touches it) to even make it out, so reading comfortably, for any length of time, likely wont happen. Any documents, or stories will definitely be in braille for her.
I may be able to borrow equipment or textbooks from the company who supplies W Ross, which is so great to know as well!
Lanna was impressed with Hanna's printing, and her braille writing. Her concept development isn't a question anymore, and now we're full-fledged literacy bound! It's an exciting time! Hanna has her work cut out for her, but we all know she will do great! She always does.