With the countdown to summer vacation on, he was thrilled to receive the brailler on Wednesday afternoon so he could work with it in school for a few days. It is much lighter than the old-style brailler he works with at school, but still heavy for a 7 year old. However, he managed without toppling over.
As soon as we got it out of the box we had it on the kitchen table. After listening to about half of the 8 minute audio tour, he couldn't wait any longer and he just pushed the "off" button for the tour and started typing. I was amazed to see him type his entire name without one error. Of course I only knew there were no errors because the brailler announces each letter as you type, and then at the end of the word it speaks the whole word. There are lots of choices to turn on or off the voice, to select the voice, to do contracted or non-contracted braille, to save your document on a flash drive, to change user profiles, and to review your document. Very cool! I immediately see the benefit of using this in a mainstream classroom environment like ours where the teacher does not read braille. I was impressed to see Clay hit the button to show me contracted braille (like shorthand), and was happy with how proud he was with the verbal confirmation of his correct work.
Today Grace got involved. She couldn't stand to watch him typing, so as soon as he took a break she took over and very quickly typed everyone's name in the family. The best part as far as she could tell? "Mom, they pronounce our name right! Nobody ever does that!" Here is a shot of her enjoying the secret-code concept of braille. She does not know any of the braille alphabet, but this inspired her to learn it (with help of a braille alphabet sheet next to her) very quickly.
We will post back in a few more days.
To learn more about Marty you can go here: http://www.perkins.org/smartbrailler/
To follow the route of Marty, you can go here: http://www.wonderbaby.org/articles/backpacking-smart-brailler-event