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     Raised markings can be put on dials in a variety of ways and may be
helpful to a blind individual.  Dials on the oven, stove burners, washing
machine and dryer, electric mixer, dishwasher, electric skillet, etcetera
may be set more exactly if some special markings are used.  It is possible
to take a sharp scratch awl and make lines on a plastic or metal surface
around the outside of the dial, so that the pointer on the dial can be
turned toward these marks.  Small daubs of fingernail polish or glue or a
commercial product called Hi-Marks can also be used.  Notches or bumps of
one kind or another can be used to mark almost any dial.  It is not
necessary to write words or numbers on the dials as is done in print.  The
blind person will decide what setting should be marked, so he or she will
know what they mean.  Furthermore, it is not necessary to have every
possible dial setting marked.  For example, it may be desirable to put
Braille markings on an oven dial at 275, 350, 425, and broil.  With these
four settings marked, it is possible to set the oven dial between them for
more accurate control. 
     Many dials may not need special markings.  If the dial clicks as it
turns, or if a series of buttons are used for settings (in the fashion
that is common on many blenders), no additional markings will be needed.
In addition, many dials can be set accurately by a blind person even
though there are no special markings.  An example of this would be the
dial for a gas stove burner which can be turned a half or one-quarter turn
from off to high flame.  As the dial is gradually turned, the flame gets
higher or lower.  Sometimes a blind person can feel printing on a dial. 
Even though you cannot read these letters by touch, the roughness of the
print and the spacing between the letters or words may be an adequate
guide for a blind person in setting the dial.  Plastic tape may be used to
mark a dial, but other kinds of tape are likely to pull off or wear out
     Some appliances and other devices have been marked in Braille or
adapted especially for the blind by the manufacturer.  In most cases,
however, you can use whatever you have on hand just as well as something
that has been adapted for use by the blind.  For example, a kitchen timer
has been adapted for the blind with raised dots on it to show how many
minutes it is set for.  At most hardware stores, it is possible to
purchase for less money kitchen timers that have raised numerals.  These
can be felt and the timer can be set very accurately.  If you already have
a kitchen timer with print numerals that are not raised, you can probably
still set it accurately.  On a 60-minute timer, when the pointer is
straight down, it is set for 30 minutes; straight to the right is 15
minutes; halfway between 15 and straight up is 7 1/2 minutes.  This timer
can be marked with a scratch awl or fingernail polish at 15, 30, and 45 or
in some other way. However, many blind people would be able to use it
without any special markings.  It is largely a matter of personal
preference. Other examples similar to this could be given, but the kitchen
timer shows why you may not need a special device for the blind, even if
you hear it advertised. 
     If a blind person knows some Braille and wishes to make markings with
Braille letters this can be done by using Braille dymo tape.  Braille dymo
tape can be used to mark records, canned goods and other firm surfaces.
Canned goods can also be sorted by location on the shelf, or Braille
magnetic labels can be purchased.  Packages of frozen food can be labeled
in Braille, the label held against the package with a rubber band. 
Plastic Braille labels of this kind can be reused.  Of course, it is
adequate for many people simply to sort frozen items by arranging them in
a certain order in the freezer. 
     Generally, clothes do not need special markings.  You can identify
shirts, slacks, sweaters, jackets, skirts, dresses, etcetera, by the feel
of the fabric, the style, buttons, and other features that vary from one
garment to the next.  Exceptions to this may be t-shirts or socks.  If
t-shirts of different colors are otherwise identical, the simplest means
of distinguishing one from the other is to tear out the tag on one,
leaving it in the other.  It would also be possible to sew a small piece
of fabric at the back of the neck.  Some blind people prefer to wear
primarily one color of socks, all black, all white, all blue.  In many
dime stores it is possible to buy small rings to use when doing the
laundry to keep socks mated together. This makes sorting several colors of
socks simple, since they should not get mixed together.  If you have a
slip or undergarment that contrasts with several that are a different
color or shade you may wish to mark it in the same way you would mark a
t-shirt, so you don't inadvertently wear it under something light-colored
or sheer. 
     Although it is possible to label almost anything in Braille or with
raised markings, do not let yourself become a slave to such markings.  You
may find you really don't need very many. 


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Copyright (C) 1994 by the National Federation of the Blind. All Rights Reserved.