Welcome back to Literacy Musing Mondays. We are continuing our special guest post series. This week we feature Astrid who shares with us her Braille reading journey. Astrid consider herself an autistic activist and blogs at Blogging Astrid. You can read more about her on About Me page. Her autobiography is inspirational and worth the read and her blog posts are short and sometimes make me chuckle at their simplicity and sweetness. I am glad I met her through Corinne Rodrigues‘s Write September Blog Challenge at her Everyday Gyaan blog.
A Reluctant Braille Reader’s Journey
I was contacted by Mary Hill from host of Literacy Musing Mondays at Mary-andering Creatively, whose link up is mostly on literacy. She asked me to write about autism and literacy, but I have little knowledge of this subject, partly because I wasn’t diagnosed with autism till age 20. However, I am also blind, and I struggled to learn to read because of that.
I learned print first, then Braille, but hated Braille because it was a reminder of my declining vision. I also do not know which of my difficulties with learning to read were due to blindness and which were due to autism. I believe, in fact, that most of my difficulties were due to a lack of motivation.
I was a fairly early reader of print. When I was four or five, my mother made little books with large rub-on letters. Each page had one word on it and the books had a theme, such as “house” or “school”. In the Netherlands, at the time, kids didn’t learn to read till age six. I could read first-grade early reader books by the time I entered the special education equivalent of first grade.
My mom’s influence and self-made books also fueled in me a desire to write. From the moment I was a little child on, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Originally, like most children who want to become writers, I wanted to be a children’s book writer. Unlike many children who wanted to be writers, I wasn’t an avid reader.
My dislike for reading was fueled by the fact that I had to learn to read Braille by the time I was seven, because my already severely impaired vision was declining rapidly. It wasn’t that I didn’t like books, magazines or anything with letters in it. In fact, I’d listen to children’s books and magazines on tape all the time. I just didn’t like, or rather I hated, learning Braille. It was probably that learning Braille reminded me of the fact that I was rapidly losing my vision. After all, I did read print books till I’d lost so much vision that even giant print didn’t work for me anymore. This meant that, at age nine, I’d still be reading early learner books because of the large print. I had too little vision for low vision aids.
I continued to hate reading Braille until I got a computer at age eleven. Even then, I strained to read from the screen, magnifying the font six to eight fold. When I really needed to use another sense than vision, I rather used my text-to-speech software.
It was probably the annoying, robotic voice of the text-to-speech software that turned me into a Braille reader. By the time I entered mainstream secondary school at age thirteen, I could read computerized Braille with relative ease. I, however, still rarely touched Braille books. This may have been more a matter of convenience, as Braille books are bulky.I started writing stories avidly when I was around eleven. My first stories were about creepy fantasy characters, but when I entered secondary school, I started to write more realistic teen fiction.
I was at the time quite significantly depressed, so writing was an outlet for my feelings. So was reading eventually. By the time I entered secondary school, I discovered juvenile fiction writers. I loved retreating into the world of fictional teens with similar problems to mine. I often fantasized about writing books for teens with disabilities, like myself, when I grew up. There wasn’t much out there about teens with disabilities at the time, even though the library for the blind that I subscribed to had a specific section on disability.
So when I was thirteen, I started writing autobiographical fiction. It was more autobiographical than fiction and it wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed retreating into the world of my alter ego Eline. Though I grew increasingly depressed as secondary school progressed, Eline’s experience always ended on a positive note. It was writing about her that helped me survive the darkest times of my life.
Now that I’m an adult, I still write to cope with mental health problems. I write primarily in English, which is my second language and in which I’m not very good at writing fiction. However, blogging helps me in much the same way. So still does reading. When eBook readers like Adobe Digital Editions and Kindle became more or less accessible to blind readers a few years ago, I was finally able to read books that the Dutch library for the blind does not have in stock. I still haven’t found that ideal book about someone I can completely relate to, but I have come close. I guess I’ll need to write my autobiography.
Please stop by and see what Astrid is up to on her blog. She is also participating in the Write 31 Days challenge about her journey with mental health illnesses.
Now on to our Literacy Musing Mondays linkup. We are busy around here.
I am participating in the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. I joined Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Free Writes community. I am enjoying the prompts. So far, I have written posts on the prompts of calling, family, and capture. I will write Sunday on the prompt embrace and Monday on the word home. You can read more about the challenge on my landing page. 🙂
Are you participating in the Write 31 Days challenge? Please feel free to link up any of your Write 31 Day blogging posts. We would love to read them. 😉
Our giveaway for our readers and blogging participants ended Friday! The winner of $40 in either PayPal cash or on an Amazon gift card is : Kelly K. 🙂 We are notifying her of her win.
Last Week’s Top Clicked Post!
Tina makes a great argument that reading is not school work and writes about the danger of making reading mundane and boring. Her suggestions for parents are really on point. I highly recommend you read this great post!
Want to be the next to be featured! Just link up a post and if you are read the most, we will feature you. Also please make sure you link back to us so others will know about our link up and join in. We try to make it worth your while to linkup with us by promoting your posts across our social media networks. We also pin your posts to our Pinterest Board!
- Include a link back or the blog hop button linked to this hop on your posts.
- Link up the urls to your posts not to your blog.
- Please remember this is a family-friendly linkup. Although we believe in the right for adults to read whatever they want to read, we prefer to read wholesome posts that feature literature that edify and uplift families. We reserve the right to delete any posts that are not family friendly. We love all kinds of literature and genres including family-friendly inspirational romances, fantasy, or science fiction. We do not welcome anything with excessive violence, sexual content, or cursing. These posts will be deleted.
- We also want to be loving community by supporting one another. Visit at least two other bloggers’ posts and share comment love! Remember it is also nice to follow them on their social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
- Follow your hosts and co-hosts on their social media.
- Tweet about the link up too.
[tweetthis]Come join the fun! Link up your family-friendly, book- or literacy-related posts at Literacy Musing Mondays![/tweetthis]
Linking up with these hops this week: #LifeGivingLinkup; Inspire Me Mondays at Create with Joy, Inspire Me Monday at Angie Ryg,Mama Moments Monday, Motivation Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Inspire Me Mondays at Table for 7, Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Tell Me a True Story Blog Party, #Words with Winter Linkup, The Book Nook – Blog Party For Book Lovers!, Totally Terrific Tuesdays, Women with Intention Wednesdays, What to Read Wednesdays, Mom’s Library, A Little R &R Wednesday’s linkup, Kid Lit Blog Hop, Booknificent Thursdays, Cozy Reading Spot, and TGI Saturdays.