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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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doctor, I'm Seeing Spots

by Laura Legendary

A Braille labeler is one of those devices that can be easily overlooked or dismissed in favor of other, more exciting gadgets. However, a Braille labeler is not only a great tool for helping you to become better organized, it can be a great way to quickly learn Braille.

If you have learned to read Braille, then you probably have one of these handy little tools already. If you don't read Braille, this labeler can be a fun tool that may motivate you to learn. Braille really isn't that difficult, and one of the best ways to learn Braille, in my opinion, is to use it everyday on everyday things. You will learn much more quickly to recognize the dot patterns when you already know what the item is that you are trying to identify.

For example, if you are using a Braille label to mark a can of peas, and you know that when you go grocery shopping you typically buy canned peas, carrots and green beans, it will be fairly easy to figure out that four Braille characters is the can of peas. Four letters. Peas. The number of letters in the words "green beans" and "carrots" clue you in to the contents of the other cans. You will be surprised how quickly you pick up the 'feel" of the dots, and a Braille labeler will help.

Still not exciting enough for you? Well, if it helps, I do think my labeler vaguely resembles the Starship Enterprise.

Years ago there was an office gadget that was called the 'P-Touch." It was used to emboss alpha letter characters on narrow strips of adhesive tape that you could then apply to just about anything so as to easily identify items at a glance. You used it by rotating a dial on top of the unit until you selected the letter you wanted. Then, you pulled the "trigger" and the letter was stamped into the plastic tape. After you completed the label you wanted, the gadget clipped off the length of tape and you affixed it to the file folder or cassette tape or whatever it was you wanted to label.

A Braille labeler works the same way; only the letters are Braille characters. Simply spin the dial to select the letter you want, then pull the trigger and voila! You have an adhesive label to stick on your boxes, cans, files, CD's, cosmetics, electronics...anything. Find it faster with a Braille labeler. Soon you’ll be seeing (or, feeling) spots all over the place. That's my prescription for better organization!

  Click this link to purchase a Braille Labeler from Independent Living Aids.

Copyright 2010 by Laura Legendary

Laura Legendary is a speaker, author and educator specializing in disability awareness, accessibility and assistive technology. Visit Eloquent Insights at to request Laura for your next event. Find Laura's Accessible Insights blog at

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