Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809. He was a French educator and a Catholic priest. An early childhood accident left Braille blind in both eyes. Braille was just 15 when he repurposed a military code into a type of a tactile “code” that allowed blind people to read and write. It is the system still in use today.
It’s not unusual to take classes in sign language - as a matter of fact, that can even be substituted for the foreign language requirement in some schools. But fewer people are learning Braille. As a matter of fact, only 10% of visually impaired Americans can read Braille today.
Here are some facts about Braille:
1. Braille is not considered to be a language, it can be used for almost any written language, including English, math, computer science, music and more. There are even dots used along sidewalks to alert the visually impaired to dangerous conditions, crosswalks, traffic and more.
2. The first American educational institute to accept Braille was the Missouri School for the Blind, which incorporated the system in 1854.
3. The six-dot Braille cells have 63 possible combinations. To write in Braille, you use a machine called a Braillewriter which has just six keys, a space bar, a line spacer and a backspace.
Resources for the Visually Impaired
If you or someone you know are visually impaired, there are resources available.
Free Braille Books for Children and/or Teachers