2023 World Braille Day


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Today is World Braille Day, a day set aside to honour Louis Braille and his life-changing invention. Braille is a pattern of raised dots that people who are blind or have low vision may read with their fingertips. It is the most common type of tactile reading.

Louis Braille was born in 1809 in France. He hurt his eye when he was three years old while playing with a sharp tool in his father’s workshop. The injury had rendered him blind in that eye. He eventually lost sight in his other eye a few years later.

When Braille was ten years old, he was taken to a blind school. The school had a raised letter system that students were supposed to memorise. However, Louis Braille was not satisfied with this procedure. He sought to find a more effective method of reading and writing than memorising.

Braille invented his unique system of raised dots that could be read by touch in 1824, when he was only 15 years old. He first only shared his idea with a few close acquaintances, but word spread and other blind schools began to use it.

Every year, World Braille Day occupies a particular place in the hearts of people all over the world as it commemorates the birthday of Louis Braille and the significance of his creation. This January 4th celebrates the 206th anniversary of his birth, making it a very important day for individuals who communicate, learn, and work with braille. World Braille Day allows us to reflect on our own advantage of being able to read without difficulty and consider how we might assist people who lack basic access to information. It also serves as a timely reminder of why the discovery of braille was so important: it provided blind people with unprecedented access to education and knowledge.

Braille’s history is lengthy and intricate, with many twists and turns. Braille, as we know it now, was developed over a long period of time by various different persons.

Charles Barbier, a French army captain, was the first to devise a system of raised dots that could be read by touch. Barbier’s approach, known as night writing, was created to allow soldiers to communicate discreetly at night without revealing their position. While night writing was ingenious, it was also extremely intricate and difficult to master.

It wasn’t until 1821 that a young man named Louis Braille invented a reduced version of Barbier’s system that blind people could readily learn and use. Braille’s system soon gained popularity, and by the mid-nineteenth century, it was utilised all across the world. Braille has many distinct versions today, but the core concepts remain the same. And it is owing to Louis Braille that blind people now have a valuable instrument for communication and education.

Many people around the world still use Braille to read and write. It is especially popular among the blind and people with limited vision. In fact, it is believed that there are around 180,000 Braille users in the United States alone!

Braille can be utilised in several different ways. One option is to read Braille books, which are booklets with raised dots rather than printed words. These dots represent the alphabet and can be read by rubbing one’s fingers over them.

Writing Braille is another option. This is possible with a Perkins Brailler, which includes keys that match to the raised dots on a page. Someone can write words in Braille by hitting these keys.

Finally, tactile graphics is a type of picture representation that uses raised lines and shapes. This can be used to create maps or diagrams. Tactile images, like Braille text, can be read by running one’s fingertips over them.

There are numerous resources available to assist you get started with studying Braille. Here are a few to consider:

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) website contains a number of resources, including an introductory guide to Braille, advice on how to get started learning Braille, and a directory of organisations that provide Braille education.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) website also includes a number of resources, including an online Braille course, information on how to contact a local Braille instructor, and a calendar of forthcoming Braille and blindness events.

Perkins School for the Blind provides residential and distance learning Braille programmes, as well as online materials and support for those studying Braille.

If you live in the United Kingdom, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) provides a variety of Braille-related services and resources, including as courses, one-on-one support, and events.

World Braille Day commemorates Louis Braille’s significant contributions to literacy and education. It is an occasion to celebrate the influence of his legacy on those who are blind or visually impaired, and how it has enabled them to live more independent lives. We can help create an inclusive society in which everyone has access to literature, technology, and other resources they need to fulfil their aspirations by raising awareness of World Braille Day and its significance.


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