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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Friday, November 05, 2010

A Braille Datebook, and Much Much More

photo of the Braille Datebook by Stacey Robinson

My name is Stacey Robinson, and I am thirty-five years old. I've been blind since birth, and have ROP. I think I've used products from APH for most of my life. I began learning Braille at the age of five when I started school at the Tennessee School for the Blind. I've always loved to write and have had a couple poems in the newsletter that Guiding Eyes for the blind puts out as well as an article about my experience with guide dogs in the matilda Ziegler magazine.

Over the years, I've used many different APH products. One of the first that I remember is Notebook Paper. This Braille paper was already punched and came 500 sheets to a box. When I was seven, I got my own Perkins Brailler (and I still have it today).

I continued to use more and more APH products including the table top recorder (in college). I've also used a Braille+ and will have the book Port plus soon. I'm writing this article to focus on something that is more low tech than either of those two things though.

In school, I was exposed to the Slate and Stylus but didn't really learn to use it. Fred Gissoni encouraged me to purchase one and gave me tips on learning to use it (and now I have several). When the plastic 4 x 6 Slate came out I bought that. Shortly afterwards I believe, the Braille Datebook came out. I had been looking for a way to keep phone numbers and other info in Braille, so I bought a datebook.

I use a notetaker, but wanted a way to back things up in Braille. When my datebook arrived, I saw the calendar, and thought that I'd never use this for appointments. When that year was up, I did not buy another calendar. I had begun to organize addresses and phone numbers in my datebook. I did this with a slate and stylus as well as with my Braillewriter. I soon realized that I could use this handy little book for other info.

I ran out of space in my datebook, so I bought a plastic box for four by six cards and put the pages in there. I started keeping account numbers, card numbers (and PINS) personal identification numbers in my datebook. I then realized that I could keep track of many other things as well. I began to keep track of classes I'd taken and passwords for various things. My little datebook filled up again, and the pages went into the box. I really wanted an empty binder, but couldn't find one anywhere.

It was about this time that APH's Permabraille Sheets came out. There were things in my datebook that I wanted to keep, so at the 2008 American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention I bought a bunch of Permabraille for the datebook. Shortly after that, I bought more dividers and paper and began to organize again.

In my current binder, I have several sections. I've labeled my dividers with dimo tape. I have a section for bank info such as card numbers and account numbers. I also have a section for account numbers like the ones on your electric bill or phone bill. There's also a section for my guide dog with his birthday, his vets name, his tattoo and the day we graduated. In this section I also have item numbers for toys he likes from the places I ordermost pet things.

I also have a section for serial numbers of various tech things I own. For example, jaws for windows, and my VoiceSense. Lastly, I have a huge section for passwords for websites on the internet. I also have some passwords for email lists in this section.

APH now sells the empty binders (25-070-001), and I have addresses and phone numbers in the extra one I bought. I've often thought that the Braille Datebook should be called something different. Maybe, the Braille organizer or planner? For me, it is so much more than a datebook, it's a wonderful way to keep track of important information that you may have stored on a computer or notetaker. If that device ever needs repair and you use this product to back things up ahead of time, you won't be lost while waiting for your technology to be fixed.

Finally, here are a couple more ways you could use your datebook. You could use it as a check register, as well as a reminder system. It could be used to make lists such as grocery lists or as a filing system to keep track of books you've read or wish to read.

I hope my experience with this product and it's accessories have helped someone. Do you need to organize your life in Braille? Ha ha , buy a binder, some Permabraille and paper or just a datebook. nder, paper and dividers and enjoy all the fun things you can do with them.

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