Did you know that January is the National Braille Literacy Month? In this month, Braille literacy is encouraged and promoted in schools nationwide. This is to ensure that the students who are blind will have the opportunity to read classic books and other wondrous literary works published in today’s time.
What Is Braille?
Braille is an invention by Louie Braille. This typically consists of raised dots, with each dot representing a certain letter of the print alphabet. Aside from the alphabet, numbers and punctuation also have a corresponding raised dot/s in the Braille system. Due to the sensitive touch of blind people, it is easy for them to feel the embossed dots.
To read a particular character in the Braille system, you need to remember a specific combination of raised dots. These combination of dots are then grouped into a cell. Learning what the combination of dots mean is essential in Braille literacy.
Why Braille Matters?
The Braille system has long been integrated in the current society. Through incorporating Braille in people’s daily lives, society is able to present equality between the normal and blind community. For example, elevator buttons now have Braille alphabets right beside the floor number. ATM machines, bank notes, medicine labels, receipts, legal paperworks, and a whole lot more also has Braille dots on them.
As Braille is the official communications system for the blind, it is what defines whether a blind individual is literate or not. To consider a person with sight literate, they should first learn how to read and write. For people without sight, the requirement to call them literate is that they should learn how to read Braille.
Here are also some other reasons why people, especially the blind ones, should learn Braille:
In music. Musicians who are unable to see the standard printed music notation can take advantage of Braille to read or compose music.
In mathematics. Math-related notations and characters can also be written in Braille. Thus, blind people can perform mathematical operations just like people with sight do.
In education. Blind individuals need to learn how to read Braille since this system will serve as their foundation for further learning.
In employment. Learning Braille improves a blind individual’s chances of employment in the future. Braille is extremely useful in various workplace and environment.
In entertainment. Many published books have a Braille version. By learning Braille, one can easily read the classics or other literary works that has a version in Braille.
Alternative to Learning Braille
Truth be told, learning the Braille system is a bit difficult. Thus, the schools lean towards an easier option for educating the blind. That would be the use of audio books and assistive technology. Indeed, it is more straightforward for blind individuals to learn through audio books. However, do remember that Braille is the system that defines whether a blind person is literate or not. That means that no matter how well-learned one is through the audio books, it is not enough to call one literate. Braille literacy is still encouraged.
Now that it is January, make it one of your goal to be literate in Braille. It shouldn’t matter if you are a person with or without sight. Braille has many benefits for any individual.