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How does the blind read?

Posted by The New N Used Link Team on Monday, July 1, 2013


Many of us wonder from time to time how can a blind person function in a normal day to day lifestyle. We see them with trained dogs to get around, we some playing the piano very well and doing a number of other things with the sense of feeling but can a blind person really READ? the answer to this question is yes with the "BRAILLE" but it is not as simple as it may sound.

If you live in a town or city, especially if you work in a large office building, you probably encounter Braille every day. Braille characters mark elevator buttons, signs and public map displays. The dots are tiny, so they're easy to miss, and if you don't need to read them, you may not even realize they're there.

Braille completely changed the way people approached education for the blind. Before the invention of Braille, blind people didn't have many opportunities for education or employment. The few existing schools for the blind were more like residential workshops, teaching basic trade skills while ignoring reading, writing and other academic studies. Braille changed all that by giving blind people an efficient method for communication and learning. Braille is a tactile writing system used by the blind and the visually impaired that is used for books, menus, signs, elevator buttons, and currency. Braille-users can read computer screens and other electronic supports thanks to refreshable braille displays. They can write braille with the original slate and stylus or type it on a braille writer, such as a portable braille note-taker, or on a computer that prints with a braille embosser. Braille is named after its creator, Frenchman Louis Braille, who went blind following a childhood accident. At the age of 15, Braille developed his code for the French alphabet in 1824 as an improvement on night writing. He published his system, which subsequently included musical notation, in 1829. The second revision, published in 1837, was the first digital (binary) form of writing. Braille characters are small rectangular blocks called cells that contain tiny palpable bumps called raised dots. The number and arrangement of these dots distinguish one character from another. Since the various braille alphabets originated as transcription codes of printed writing systems, the mappings (sets of character designations) vary from language to language. Furthermore, in English Braille there are three levels of encoding: Grade 1, a letter-by-letter transcription used for basic literacy; Grade 2, an addition of abbreviations and contractions; and Grade 3, various non-standardized personal shorthands.

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