Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

One-Handed Method for Using a Braille 'n Speak

Lee Speer is a teacher in South Carolina. He had written this piece in response to questions and is offering it as a record for Fred's Head. I agree with him absolutely about the usefulness of the one hand mode. I've made use of it and am most appreciative of Deane Blazie for having made it available in his note-takers almost from the beginning.
--Fred Gissoni

Lee Speer writes: "I had a teacher contact me the other day needing a one-hand brailler. It seems that her student had injured herself and one arm was in a sling and she needed a one-hand brailler. I asked the lady, don't you have a Braille 'N Speak to which she said yes. I then told her about the one-hand mode in the BNS.

Please do not think that this feature is just for the injured. I taught an orthopedic student to type with a BNS using the one-hand method. Yes, it is slow, tedious and time consuming but the alternative was that she would have been unable to have any form of written communication. She had control of one finger (when her tremors were not bad) and we learned braille and the one-hand method all at the same time. Time consuming, frustrating, tedious maybe, but the emotions I will always remember are the satisfaction and rewards when she proudly proclaimed, 'I can write!'

The commands are:

1. Hold down dot six, turn on the BNS, let off the dot six.
2. It will then start by saying one-hand mode on.

A. To type, simply press the combination of keys that you need, in any order, as many times as you like, as long as it is a minimum of one time and then press the spacebar to accept that individual braille cell. A "for" sign is brailled by pressing all six dots and then the spacebar as the BNS says "for."
B. To execute a chord command, press the spacebar prior to the other keys and then another spacebar afterwards. A chord F is accomplished by pressing spacebar, the dots 1,2,4 and spacebar again.
C. A space is obtained when you press the spacebar twice.

To exit the one-hand mode, simply hold dot 3, turn on the BNS, and you are in two hand or normal mode. "

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