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On The Road: Braille Weaving Loom

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They say the key to learning something is to have fun while you are learning and you’ll remember it better. Today I went On the Road to the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind to find out about a new tool they are using to teach the visually impaired about braille.

Braille was developed in 1825. By using a raised six-dot method Louis Braille was able read using his fingers. Braille has been taught ever since, but now national statistics say the only about 10-percent of visually impaired children are using braille for reading. With the technology that is available today most are using talking software instead of the braille method.

Jennifer Mayster, a Chicago woman, developed a weaving loom that would help teach braille by mimicking the six-keyed Perkins braille writer.

otr 1 On The Road: Braille Weaving Loom

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Blake Lindsay and Terry McManus, from the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, showed me how they work and say they are using the looms to use in teaching their clients braille concept as well as how to weave.

The loom uses six different materials to represent each of the dots in the six-dot braille cell and when woven into a tapestry it is quite colorful and has the different textures so a blind person could read it by touch.

otr 2 On The Road: Braille Weaving Loom

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

The clients are weaving several tapestries with different words in them. Once they are complete they will go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to be put in an exhibit call Loomword that was started by Mayster.

The Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind teaches the loom every other Saturday. If you would like to help with the project you can go to dallaslighthouse.org to make a donation toward this effort or other worthwhile projects.

Photojournalist,
Mike Kinney

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