I believe the first time I had any awareness of blindness was when I was around the age of 7 and the movie "The Miracle Worker" showed up on television long after it had won Oscars for two of its stars. It was the story of Helen Keller, a deaf and blind child on the verge of being institutionalized before a dedicated teacher changes her life.

That story interested me enough to find out what it was, what could cause it and how a person could live their life and thrive with this disability.

Years later, I worked with a fellow radio guy who was blind. Not only was he immensely talented on-air, but he was also a much more talented board operator than I was and he used braille to do it!

Unfortunately, my mom lost her sight to Macular degeneration very late in her life. The inability to read (which she loved) deeply depressed her. I was so grateful to discover books on tape back then, which I think saved her life. My understanding of blindness took a very personal turn at that time.

The South Dakota Association of the Blind will be at the Downtown Library (200 N. Dakota Avenue) on Saturday, January 26, presenting "The Basics of Braille" from 2 to 3 PM for families and children in grades K-5. They will introduce the written code used by blind and partially sighted people, then share a storytime reading books and showing kids how to write their names in Braille.

For the young children in your life who may have curiosity about blindness and the Braille system of touch writing and reading, (which makes it possible for blind people to read, communicate, enjoy hobbies, play cards and board games, read musical notes, etc.) this program would be a great source of gaining some primary knowledge.

For more information call 605-367-8720 or see Siouxland libraries.


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