In today’s technology-driven world, is braille still relevant?
At Envision, we believe that braille is still a vital part of learning and success – whether the paper version or electronic advancements. Harnessing technology is critical in overcoming certain challenges. E-Braille can help people surf the internet, text, email, download books, and stay connected to the world as never before. Braille is far more than dots on paper. Many computer or tablet users who have an acquired vision loss may not even be aware of the value or use of braille in the technology we use every day – computers, tablets, smartphones and e-readers. Many of these devices can connect to braille dis-plays, so that text on the screen can be read as tactile characters on a display, read by touch.
Two Envision employees share their experience with braille:
Blake Lindsay, Outreach Manager, Envision Dallas: "The first day in the first grade, was my first opportunity learning braille. I can still hear the assuring voice of my teacher as she said, “Blake, let’s learn some braille today.” For the first few months, I was not a fan, as braille was difficult to learn and extremely challenging. The letter S resembled the letter P, the letter M felt like N. I was still having difficulty when entering my second grade year, but my teacher, Mrs. Davidson, was a genuine caring encourager who had a true passion for braille. She took time to find out specifically which braille letters were similar enough to frequently fool me. She would then put them side by side, so that I could clearly feel and understand the difference between them. Finally, braille made sense. Mrs. Davidson was successful in not only helping me to see her vision, but to also make her vision mine. Braille increased my independence. Today, I often wonder how I could have survived in the world without knowing this remarkable system of communication."
Donna Johnson: "I’ve used braille since I first learned it in first grade. It has helped me tremendously with numbers since I am dyslexic. Numbers have always been a problem for me and reading them with my fingers has made a difference in my work. I’m now 70 years old and still doing what I love so much and that is working with technology and teaching braille to help others learn to use so it can help them too."
People who are blind or low vision who know braille and use it find success, independence and productivity. A recent survey of 500 respondents by the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute revealed a correlation between the ability to read braille and a higher educational level, a higher likelihood of employment and a higher income.