Date of Award

12-1997

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Ponchillia

Second Advisor

Dr. Regena Fails Nelson

Third Advisor

Dr. Sue Ponchillia

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Ariel Anderson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the area of braille and individuals with visual impairments. The debate is over who should receive braille instruction, when they should receive it, and how much training individuals with visual impairments should obtain. This study measured: (a) the participants' personal characteristics, (b) their prior braille training. and (c) their reading behaviors. Specific questions dealt with: (a) degree of vision and when it first began to interfere with reading; (b) primary mode of reading ( c) educational background; (d) other 'disabilities; (e) how they felt about their past education; (f) gender, occupation, and age; (g) what types of visually impaired skills they acquired and when they began using those skills; (h) how they use those skills today; and (i) who most influenced their decisions to use print or braille.

There were 133 randomly selected participants. Findings indicated a high use of braille, but also use of combination of braille, cassettes and other media. People with more vision were more likely to use recorded media, or were less likely to read at all, as compared to individuals with less sight who used braille. The participants had higher educational achievement than the average fully sighted population, yet still had moderate to higher unemployment.

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