Braille

 
 


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Braille

Braille

is a system of writing for the blind, using combinations of raised dots to be read with the fingertips. This method of teaching the blind to read was developed by a French teacher of the blind, Louis Braille. Louis Braille was blinded in an accident at the age of three and was educated with sighted children at the village school. Even without school books, his retentive mind enabled him, just by listening to the teacher's words, to forge ahead of his classmates.

Braille became a teacher at the National Institute of the Blind in Paris and devoted all his spare time to the search for a truly readable writing for the blind. Without books, he realized the blind could never really learn.  Charles Barbier, a French army officer, had worked out a system of writing consisting of embossed dots and dashes to be used for communication on the battlefield at night. From this he demonstrated to Braille a reading method for the blind called sonography. Although his system was too complex to be truly feasible for touch reading, Braille recognized its value as a basis for a kind of dot writing that would be simple and small enough to suit the dimensions and perceptual span of the fingertips and permit instantaneous identification of letters.

Louis Braille, at only 15 years of age, worked on developing this unique reading method. By cutting the height of Barbier's dot matrix in half, he derived the "Braille cell," which resembled the six points of a domino but smaller, from which 63 dot patterns could be formed. For convenience in describing these dot patterns, Braille numbered the six dots of his cell 1,2,3 downward on the left, and 4,5,6 downward on the right. To 26 of the 63 patterns he assigned the values of the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet.

Braille is available to the blind in all the various forms of written expression - word, numbers, and the notations for punctuation, mathematics, science and music. Individuals who are blind are able to take notes by using a slate and stylus and a thick piece of paper. The thick paper lies between the plates of the metal slate which has window-like openings on one side and the opposite side has the six indentions of a Braille cell. A stylus is used to punch out the dots. A Perkins Brailler, like a typewriter, allows the user to Braille several lines, even pages, of Braille more quickly than a slate and stylus.  Today’s technology allows users to use a Braille printer, enabling the user to type information on a computer using a regular keyboard and then printing the information in Braille.

South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind offers Braille classes at its Corpus Christi location through the Hadley School for the Blind.  Through this program, persons who are blind or visually impaired can learn Grade 1, Grade 2, and Nemith Braille.
 


4421 Agnes Street Corpus Christi, TX. 78405 Phone: 361.883.6553
Toll Free 888.255.8011

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