Braille is a tactile writing system used by people who are visually impaired, including people who are blind, deafblind, or who have low vision. It can be read either on embossed paper or by using refreshable braille displays that connect to computers and smartphone devices.
Braille is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision. Teachers, parents, and others who are not visually impaired ordinarily read braille with their eyes. Braille is not a language. Rather, it is a code by which many languages such as English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and dozens of others may be written and read. Braille is used by thousands of people all over the world in their native languages and provides a means of literacy for all.
Braille is named after its creator, Louis Braille, a Frenchman who lost his sight as a result of a childhood accident. In 1824, at the age of fifteen, he developed the braille code based on the French alphabet 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 binary form of writing developed in the modern era.
Braille symbols are formed within units of space known as braille cells. A full braille cell consists of six raised dots arranged in two parallel rows each having three dots. The dot positions are identified by numbers from one through six. Sixty-four combinations are possible using one or more of these six dots. A single cell can be used to represent an alphabet letter, number, punctuation mark, or even a whole word. This braille alphabet and number illustrate what a cell looks like and how each dot is numbered. The number and arrangement of these dots distinguish one character from another.
USES OF BRAILLE
- Braille is read by people who are blind, deafblind, and also those born with visual impairment.
- Also, individuals with low vision will benefit from braille, depending on level of vision or context (for example, when lighting or colour contrast is poor).
- Braille is used for both short and long reading tasks. Examples of short reading tasks include braille labels for identifying household items (or cards in a wallet), reading elevator buttons, accessing phone numbers, grocery lists and other personal notes. Examples of longer reading tasks include using braille to access educational materials, novels and magazines.
- People with access to a refreshable braille display can also use braille for reading email and ebooks, browsing the internet and accessing other electronic documents.
- It is also possible to purchase playing cards and board games in braille.
- Through braille, people who are blind can also pursue hobbies and cultural enrichment with materials such as music scores, hymnals, playing cards, and board games.