How Our Volunteers Help Us
Look below to see all the various ways in which you can help us produce Braille material in the Kirkwood Office.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) requires that publishers provide textbooks to organizations, such as ours, to make Braille copies available to visually impaired students.
This act also created a new standard file format, National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS), to be used by all parties involved in producing material for the disabled. However, this new standard takes time to implement, so many of our books still come to us in the hard bound copies used in the classroom.
We cut the spine off of the book and scan each individual page into the computer using a sheet-feed document scanner. We use an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application to highlight and move only the text content of each page to a computer file which is then used by the transcriber to create the Braille copy.
Sometimes a publisher will provide a book on computer files of various formats (html, pdf) which we also pre-edit to isolate text content for the transcriber.
In some cases, a tactile graphic can be produced to convey the ideas to the blind reader by touch that are being presented visually to the sighted in maps, charts and other illustrations.
We carefully study the illustration to determine what message is being presented to the sighted student and decide if it can be conveyed by touch in a simple straight forward way.
We employ two methods of preparing tactile graphics at Midwestern Braille Volunteers.
If you like to cut and paste (not just with your keyboard) you will love creating collage tactile graphics. We use any material that is unique to the touch: sandpaper, string, canvas, cloth, cardboard cut-out shapes and glue them into a collage.
There is always an accompanying key page to explain in Braille the meaning of each texture being felt. We may also attach braille labels directly onto the illustration where space permits. The finished collage will become the template for the thermoform (plastic sheet) page for the Braille book.
Once the Braille book has been bound into multiple volumes, our volunteers carefully pack them into shipping boxes to avoid crushing the embossed pages. Our volunteers transport the shipment to the local post office for delivery into the waiting hands of a blind reader.
Since our work for the blind is supported through donations, we extend a warm welcome to new volunteers with fundraising ideas or expertise. *Offsite
We welcome any amount of time, temporary or permanent, no special skill required, we will train young, old and in-between.
Our office hours are Monday – Friday 8:00AM – 1:00PM.
We also have opportunities to help from your home computer. Offsite opportunities are indicated below by *Offsite