After looking around the net, and the APH website, here's my idea of what would make a good "teach yourself braille kit" for the sighted or semi-sighted folks who may lose their vision later in life.
- Check out this free embossed & print grade 1 braille card that you can order from here: www.afb.org/braillebug.
- Practice the grade 1 braille with a Seuss book and have fun. Either from The Braille Bookstore: http://www.braillebookstore.com/Dr-Seuss-Books.htm or the library. (Of course, it doesn't have to be a grade 1 Seuss...it is just that I'm rather fond of him.)
- Move on to learning grade 2 braille with these handy little flash cards from APH: http://www.aph.org/products/g2card.html. They are only 10 bucks, and they have print as well as braille.
- Practice on any braille book of your choice from the library or elsewhere, since most are written in grade 2 anyway.
- Practice writing with one of these slates and styluses from APH: http://www.aph.org/products/brlslate.htm. Don't forget the paper, which you can also order from APH: http://www.aph.org/products/brlpaper.htm. Of course there is the APH Student Starter Pack: http://www.aph.org/products/starterkit.html that has it all.
- The Hadley School for the Blind website offers many useful online courses for professionals and for the visually impaired to self-improve. One of those is braille, from beginning grade 1 all the way to advanced, contracted. After taking these courses, offered online, the learner will be absolutely proficient in braille, both in reading and in helping any visually impaired friend or relative!
This should be enough to get someone started in learning braille. Do you have more suggestions? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.