Braille in 2011

A meager ten percent of all visually impaired can read and write Braille. This dismal statistic can be attributed to new assistive technologies, audio format publications, school budget constraints, and different philosophical views on how the blind should be educated. While a decline in Braille usage is being witnessed, there is much evidence that Braille is instrumental in helping visually impaired people live fulfilling and independent lives. One statistic places of 90 percent of the jobs acquired by visually impaired people in the hands of those who can read and write Braille. Our most valuable asset is our people, and developing all people to be achievable is a priority as we see new innovations using Braille and movement to educate the public that Braille is the way to go for the visually impaired.

Almost every country has made Braille its official communications tool for the blind. Braille is being utilized and made available in more and more places including ATM’s, elevators, menus, etc. In the coming years, it will be increasingly evident in most every place you go. A new technology called “Snail” promises to make speed readers out of the visually impaired. Snail uses a pressure-sensitive touch pad to read patterns in a Braille passage then translate them to speech. While Snail isn’t out on the market yet, innovations such as this one play a role in the future development of Braille and the literacy and education of our visually impaired population.

Computers now even use Braille through a hardware that connects to a person’s computer. It translates highlighted text into Braille, and there is also a version of this device that you can hook up to your mobile phone. While the Braille Institute is one of America’s leading producers of Braille texts, the printing of Braille is now available to the blind in their own home. Braille Embossers produce reading materials in Braille by using a step by step process. A document is created in Word Processor, and then it is put through a Braille transcription software which allows editing of the text. Once editing is complete, one then inserts the Braille paper and starts the embossing process.

Braille provides an essential skill set that not only allows the visually impaired to compete in education but also later on in the workforce. It is imperative to the success of the person that Braille be learned as early as possible in one’s life. Studies show that visually impaired children who begin to learn braille at an early age not only compete with children without vision problems but tend to outperform them. Braille is the world’s main tactile method of reading, and it takes practice and technique. One of the methods a person has to perfect is applying smooth and even pressure as his or her hand glides over the passage in Braille. Braille literacy is very important in the process of empowering the visually impaired population of the world. When investing in our future, it is imperative to strive as a unified people to help maximize everyones’ potential. A better world focuses on the ability of all of its people to be able to work together, learn together, and live together.

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