Braille printout on plastic helps those with less touch sensitivity

GEORGE TOWN, 17 May 2020:

Being disabled has not stopped S. Gomathi, a braille teacher at St Nicholas’ Home for the Visually Impaired, from helping others.

Gomathi, 36, who had vision impairment since birth, has succeeded in improvising braille reading materials specially for people with finger sensitivity problems.

After teaching at the home for almost seven years, she found that several students – with reduced sensitivity in the fingers – had difficulties distinguishing braille letters embossed on paper.

“Usually those having such problems are the elderly and people suffering from diabetes. This gave me the idea to type out the reading materials onto hard plastic instead, and I noticed they could read better this way,” she told reporters when met in conjunction with Teacher’s Day celebration here yesterday.

“Since working here, I have produced almost 300 books in braille, including reference and story books.”

Meanwhile, Gomathi said her personal challenge was to make sure that all her students could memorise the braille letters to form words with only six dots.

Gomathi, who has 18 students this year, said each student would need three to six months before they were able to read braille.

“As teachers we have to remain strong and patient. I was a student here before and I am happy to return as a teacher to serve the next generation.”

Gomathi, a University of Malaya graduate in Malay studies, said her goal is to get all text and reference books typed onto hard plastic sheets.

“I don’t want those with finger sensitivity issues be denied of reading materials,” she said adding that the cost of writing onto plastic sheets could be quite expensive.

– Bernama