Inspirational Burnley schoolgirl teaches herself braille to communicate with her blind cousin

An inspirational Burnley schoolgirl is making use of lockdown by learning braille so she can communicate with her blind cousin.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 7:00 am

Leoni Chapman, who is a year nine student at Blessed Trinity RC College, decided to use her spare time to learn how to send messages that her cousin Emily Whittle, who is currently at St John the Baptist RC Primary School in the town, could read.

Emily, who will start at Blessed Trinity in September, contracted meningitis as a baby and lost her sight then.

She has a twin, Jasmine, and has been making special visits to Blessed Trinity during lockdown to help make her transition easier.

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Leoni Chapman is learning braille so she can send messages that her younger cousin, who is blind, can read.

Leoni said: “I haven’t been able to visit Emily so around two weeks ago I decided to learn braille.

"I bought a book to help me and my aunt, Emily’s mum, loaned me a machine to use and I have picked it up reasonably quickly.

“I have sent Emily a card with a reassuring message on it and it’s great to be able to send messages which she can read.

"Emily says she likes it."

Leoni’s Head of Year Lucy Mirfield said learning brailled was one of the 'strings to Leoni's bow' during lockdown adding: “At home, as well as keeping up to date with her work, Leoni has undertaken many other tasks, such as baking, crafts, helping look after and teach her sibling and learning new skills.

“Leoni has approached every aspect of home learning with enthusiasm and effort.

“Her positivity is inspirational. As her head of year I am extremely proud of her.”