Presented by Sally Paterson, Learning Hub Manager
The Brailler is an essential tool for blind and visually impaired children to use. For those children who can’t write using a pen and pencil and paper it’s their main means of communicating what they want to say so that somebody else can read it.
So let’s show you how we are going to load a Brailler. On the side of your Braille paper there should be punched holes and this allows your pupil to feel which way round the paper is going to go into the Brailler, those punched holes should be on the left hand side and that helps you position the paper in the Brailler. The first thing your pupil needs to do is with both hands on either side of the Brailler, turn the paper feeder knobs away from them until they stop before they actually start putting a piece of paper in. Next you make sure that the embossing head is tight against the left hand edge of the Brailler. If you don’t do that then sometimes the paper won’t load properly or it can get chewed up along the edges. Pull the paper release levers towards you. For younger children you can say you need to open the gates, its just using language that helps them to understand the process of what they are doing.
Slide the paper horizontal over the paper support bar under the striper plate. Make sure the paper is tight against the left hand side of the Brailler. Once you have done that push the paper release levers away from you or if it’s a young child, you are closing the gates. Then using both hands roll the paper feed knobs towards you until the paper stops. Press the line spacer once to set the paper. Now you are ready to start Brailling we can position your fingers on the keys. We are going to use the middle three fingers of each hand. Three fingers on the left hand side and three on the right hand side. Between the two sets of keys there is a space bar. You can use your thumb every time you want to make a space. Across the front of the Brailler, above the keys is the carriage lever, you can move that back to the beginning to start a new line. On the left hand side is a button that you can press in order to move the paper through the Brailler to give you a new line. On the opposite side you will find the button that allows you to move back a space. Now that your hands are in the right place we can start Brailling.
When you have got down to the bottom and your page is full, we need to know how to take the paper out of the Brailler. Turn the feed knobs away from you with both hands until they no longer turn and this should bring your paper nearly all the way out of the Brailler. It’s important that you use the rollers to take the paper out and don’t just pull it out otherwise you damage the roller.
Read our Guide to Loading a Brailler
Watch our screencast on Promoting Literacy in Pre-Braille Skills, Braille and Large Print.