1944 EARLY LITERACY AND NUMERACY

So I am now four years old, or there abouts and people, particularly my mum, are beginning to teach me to understand  letters and numbers and there are huge confusions in this little head. Letters , such as capital R for Roger, were distinct shapes drawn with a dark  thick crayon on white paper so I might just see it. Letters were also arranged pegs in little holes on a wooden block. R, for instance, had four pins; three in a row on the left and one in the middle on the right. OK so what about my letters, the letters that flooded my daily thought patterns? R was cream, C was a much lighter cream and J was a very light pink and so it went on. I had no idea that my internalised letters were going nowhere in my development which was a pity because they were the most meaningful to me at that time. The carefully drawn shapes on paper were probably what family and educators were hoping would prove to be my salvation. But, in the event, it was those odd dot formations, braille, that proved to be the way ahead in my life. Well, at least for the first forty years or so until the advent of computers and synthetic speech. Braille still plays its part in our home in the way we keep our diary, mark foods and important papers but we now mainly listen to read and write on the standard QWERTY keyboard computer in the normal way. It’s just that we hear what we type and what is on the screen rather than looking at the screen for words of wisdom.

Into my confused mental state were being injected words like school, going away, teacher, learning, and people came to our house to talk hush hush while we were popped into another room to play. It never crossed my mind that others were about to disrupt my little world  in a small house in Blakeley Avenue Wolverhampton. And it would be several years before I even began to take on board the fact that I was a special needs child, a disabled child, a handicapped child – different.. 

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