My E-Trans comprises a sheet of perspex a bit bigger than A4. Letters of the alphabet are grouped in each corner of the board. Within each corner group, all the letters are a different colour. There are also six coloured blobs arranged around the board.
You stand facing me and hold the board up between us. Make sure you get it the right way round. The side marked ‘Bram’s side’ needs to face me. You look at my face through the hole in the middle of the board. I will look at a corner. You use your hand to indicate the corner you think I’m looking at, saying “This corner?” If you have the right corner, I will look up. If I look down, try a different corner.
Once we have identified a corner, I will look at one of the coloured blobs. That gives you a corner and a colour. Looking at your side of the board, you can put the corner and colour together to get a letter. For example, bottom right green is the letter ‘S’.
We do that for every single letter.
It can seem daunting at first, but don’t give up. No one has ever got worse at using the board with me. Everyone makes mistakes when using it - even me. If I think we have made a mistake I will look away from the board, or just stare at you until you twig that there is something wrong. If the mistake has happened in the middle of a sentence, read out the sentence word by word. I will confirm each word by looking up, until you get to the mistake. Likewise, if the mistake is in the middle of a long word, go through it letter by letter.
It is a really good idea to write words down as I spell them. Note that there is no ‘SPACE’ character on the e-trans board. So if you find yourself thinking, ‘There is no word in english that starts T.H.E.F.I...‘, bear in mind that I may be in the process of spelling ‘the fish’ or ‘the fire’.
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