Mr. Stephen Munyao and Ms. Maureen Oywer from the JKUAT Library have been trained in braille proficiency. The two underwent a three months course that was held at the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE) in 2015. The staff were trained on the use of the braille machine and on general disability etiquette. The trained staff are now able to give services to their clients with special needs effectively.
Commenting on their experience, Mr. Munyao explained that
“Before taking this training I could not imagine how one can communicate through embossed dots, learn and perform duties done by other people without sight! It was a riddle I could not interpret but all was solved when my colleague and I went through the training”
The braille technology is attributed to one Frenchman – Louis Braille, who lost his sight at a very tender age through a childhood accident. He later at the age of 15yrs came up with the Braille code for the French alphabet which has now been adopted.
Other than people who have total blindness, there are also those with low vision, a need which is often ignored. These people strain a lot as they lack special equipment to enable them study. Equipment like stand magnifiers, hand-held magnifiers, video magnifiers, books with large print and reading machines with voice output would be of great assistance to them.
As ambassadors, we are sensitizing the university community to adopt the guidelines on how to interact with people with special needs for inclusivity. The proper interaction is referred to as disability etiquette. The library has embarked on the process of being equipped to offer services to people with special needs. There are five categories of special needs namely physical, sensory, psychological, intellectual and developmental disability.
Our appeal is for them to come forward and seek the required services without fear. The library has been allocated two Braille machines ( Parkins Braillers) which are a great boost to the newly created Special Needs Section.
We laud the efforts of our University Librarian Dr. Roselyne Mang’ira for her initiative and commitment to the implementation of the CUE requirement on people with special needs.