Blind World Magazine

Braille by mail (features the Hadley School for the Blind).

Deccan Herald, India.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006.

Prepared by experts, the lessons and courses offered on 'teaching Braille by mail', are aimed at empowering the visually challenged and those aiding them.

Aged 55, The American Mr William Hadley lost his eyesight and he was confronted with several challenges. A school teacher, Mr Hadley was hoping to get hold of several Braille books and continue to enjoy reading. But, to his dismay, he not only found a dearth for Braille materials, there was also no educational opportunities for blind adults. Mr Hadley's frustrations gave way for the idea of 'teaching Braille by mail'.

With the help of Dr E V L Brown, his neighbour, Hadley started his educational programme in 1920. He personally taught the first student and sent the Braille books by mail to a blind woman in Cansus.

Today 'Hadley School for the Blind', based in Winnetka, Illinois, offers free courses for the blind across the globe through distance education.

The school runs about 100 courses and serves around 10,000 students from various countries annually. Apart from visually challenged adults (above 14 years), Hadley also provides toll free courses to friends of visually impaired individuals or one of their family members.

Course content

Courses offered by Hadley falls into the categories of: 'Adult continuous education', 'High school Programme', 'Family Education Programme', and 'Professional Education Programme'.

Students of 'Adult Continuous Education' will have a choice of courses in Academic Studies, Braille and Other Communication Skills, Technology, Independent Living and Life Adjustment, and Recreation and Leisure. Parents of students enrolling courses under 'Adult Continuous Education' are eligible for courses under 'Family Education Programme'.

Materials for these courses are available in Braille, on cassettes, large print, download, ordinary print, and online.

Though essentially conducted as free distance education programmes, Hadley provides a personal instructor who can be reached through e-mail for clarification of doubts. These courses are recognised by a host of agencies both in the US and outside, but their real appeal lies in their practical nature.

Prepared by experts in the respective areas, the lessons and courses are aimed at empowering the visually challenged and those aiding them. 'College Education' programme, for instance, deal with how a visually challenged person can adapt to campus life. It also provides classroom surviving strategies. For those supporting the blind, Hadley's course provides an understanding of the challenges a visually challenged person faces and how best the family/friends can help them adapt to their condition.

Review of applications

The school's students services department would review applications for the courses and enroll them for an entrance test (or an orientation course) designed to check their general communication skills and understanding of English. After the procedure, they receive the course materials by post, along with a programme of regular assignments, which they are required to follow strictly.

As most students find Hadley's courses extremely interesting, submitting regular assignments isn't usually a problem for them.

For more information on The Hadley School, contact, (or) (Or) log on to:

End of article.

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