Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Marty" is now a baritone?

Clay continues to enjoy working with Marty the SMART brailler.  All visitors get a preview and it is
funny to see how everyone enjoys typing out their name or some funny sentence.  (At left is Clay showing the brailler to his K teacher.)  It must be the spy-like code of typing in braille that keeps everyone interested.  As I continue with the course "Introduction to Braille" that I am taking, I learn new things that help me understand the braille code and how the dots make "sense."  For example, the first 10 letters of the alphabet in braille (a-j) are the same as the next 10 letters (i.e., a is the same as k), minus a dot in the 3rd cell.  The next 5 letters are the same as the last 10 corresponding letters, minus another dot in the 6th cell.  Of course, knowing this does not make it any easier to remember the letters, or to read them using your hands!  Clay helped me with my last lesson, "Using a Stylus and Slate."  Knowing how to use a stylus and a slate is useful for taking notes or for when there is no brailler around.  Here is the amazing thing--you must type the "mirror image" of the braille letter when using a slate & stylus, because after you create your note you flip it around to read it.  So once you have memorized the letter to use a braillewriter, you must "flip" it to use a slate.  Are you still with me?  I would make a terrible spy... 

Tonight when I was cooking dinner, Clay brought over Marty and put it on the stool he usually stands on when he helps me cook.  He sat on the floor at my feet and got to work using a few new features we discovered about the SMART brailler.  First, we changed MARTYs voice.  Trying out the different voices drove our dog Pearl crazy. There are two female voices and one male voice (Ryan).  We settled on Ryan.  Then, we discovered an "app" program for quizzing the braille user on letters and words.  This was much more fun for Clay to do than to have me standing there telling him what to type.  And, he was very pleased with the "good work" response after each correct answer and then at the end the cheering that came with his 100% score.  This is a great tool for teaching him to spell and braille at the same time.

Clay has camp at his elementary school for the next two weeks, and he will bring along MARTY for his braille lessons.  Then the brailler will be off to the sixth, and final child in the testing program.


  1. Love the updated photo of Clay at top right. He looks well and happy.

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  3. I was impressed with what Clay was able to do with such independence using Marty! What a great tool for him to try out this summer!

    VERY happy to hear such wonderful news in your most recent post above!!!!!! :) :) :)