January is National Braille Literacy month, a time when we recognize the importance of Braille to people who are blind or visually impaired. Braille is especially significant in allowing independence in the workplace, and for students in the classroom. And braille facilitates everything from pleasure reading to music and mathematics, personal note taking, and can be seen in such common places as elevators, public restrooms, ATMs and hotel rooms.
Although technology like audiobooks and personal assistance devices is reducing the use of braille, the significance of braille for literacy, employment and education remains vital, and should not be downplayed. Technology is however helping to make braille more accessible, through electronic braille devices and refreshable braille displays for computers. No longer does a person who is blind need to lug around large heavy braille books. Instead braille books can be accessed digitally and read on a personal braille device.
Using heavy and slow braillers or a slate and stylus is quickly being replaced by braille notetakers with refreshable braille displays.
Braille isn’t used just for literacy – it is also used for safety. You probably experience braille every day, without even realizing it. Those big, bright, strips or blocks of bumps you see at the ends of sidewalks and sometimes as you walk out of a store or restaurant, are actually braille for your feet – serving as a way to keep people with vision loss safe.
Learn more about Braille Literacy.
Find out sources for FREE Braille Books for Children.