If you have an interest in finding out more about Braille, then this weekend is your a chance to learn about, and have a go at, this important form of communication. Taster sessions are being held at the University of Sheffield’s International Language Festival on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th March, taking place in the Hicks Building.
Braille workshops will be presented by Alan Thorpe, who runs training for local charity the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB). SRSB provide this service for anyone who wants to learn Braille. This could either be someone with a visual impairment or a sighted person.
Alan explains, “Braille is useful for visually impaired people because it is applied to many products including medical and food packaging, and can be a practical way for taking notes, labelling and communication. However, it is also of interest to people who may want to support or communicate with a member of their family who has a sight problem, perhaps a teacher, or someone working in an organisation that wants to improve its support of people with sight loss. Or it could just be simply that you are interested in learning Braille.”
The workshops will explain the history of Braille and how it came about. Participants will be able to have a go with a Braille machine and will be given Braille alphabet handouts.
Bill Skipworth who attends the training at SRSB and is soon to complete the advanced course, explains what it has meant to him “My eyesight has been slowly deteriorating since 1990 and while I have some sight left, I felt it would be much easier to learn Braille as I can feel and see the patterns for the letters. Over the last 2 years we have learnt all of the Level 1 and most of the Level 2 Braille signs. I feel much less anxious about the future because if my remaining sight does go, I know I have a head start at still being able to read things for myself and not have to depend on sighted readers.”
The aim of the University of Sheffield’s International Language Festival is to encourage language learning and to demonstrate the huge diversity of languages that we have in Sheffield. Tickets are on sale now at £2 a day, or £3 for a weekend ticket, available from Sheffield Students’ Union Box Office, or via their website http://www.thelanguagefestival.co.uk If you would like to contact Alan to find out the time of his presentations, you can call him on 07961 406739.