This is part of our series on the importance of braille literacy. We asked braille readers about their introduction to the braille system and how braille has changed their lives. This is part of a campaign to promote the Braille Trail Reader LE, a limited edition refreshable braille display from APH: https://www.aph.org/product/braille-trail-reader-le/
There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today if not for my ability to read Braille. In addition to providing a means by which to read the world around me, Braille has also given me the ability to succeed across a wide facet of employment situations as it allows for me to multi-task in challenging workplace settings. This is significant in a world where written communication is at times lacking but carries more weight than verbal communication in many professional environments.
I have been blind since birth, thus I began to learn Braille at the age of 3. I vividly remember the very first book that I completed titled “Go and Do,” as I was so excited that I had to immediately inform each of the 3 teachers in my pre-school program that I had done so. From that point forward, Braille became central to my education as well as to my growth as an individual. Math became something I enjoyed thanks to Nemeth code, and I also learned Braille music in order to request pieces from the National Library Service so that I could independently learn them on the piano. I began to read more and more as I grew up and immersed myself in everything from kids’ books by Betsy Byars and Jerry Spinelli to the thrillers of Nelson DeMille and the wild endeavors of Kerouac and Wolfe. Additionally, without Braille, I would have never been able to access the curriculum of my high school German class where I had the only embossed copy of the book in the United States.
Braille also afforded me the opportunity to work in call centers where I would learn how to simultaneously read scripts, enter information, and maintain a conversation at the same time without disrupting anyone around me. As I progressed to other areas of employment, I had no idea that my Braille literacy would directly lead to a career within assistive technology working with one of the leading manufacturers of refreshable Braille products. I also never would have imagined that I would be able to work within an environment where the centricity of Braille is not only a large part of what I do as I travel around the United States doing daily trainings, but something that permeates our mission as well as our drive to build new and exciting products. Thanks to my Braille Trail, all of this came true.
Peter Tucic is the Brand Ambassador of Blindness Products for HumanWare.