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.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


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.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.