THE HISTORY OF BRAILLE
A Requirement in SPED 503
INSTRUCTIONAL PROCEDURES for VISUALLY IMPAIRED SATURDAYS 10AM-12NN
JULY 20, 2013
"It has been a long hard struggle by the blind to obtain an education. It has been filled with pit falls and stumbling blocks, often placed there by well meaning sighted persons whom did not fully understand the needs of the blind. Yet we will show that there were and continues to a growing number who did and do have the insight to change history." -Ken Stuckey-
The invention of the braille system of writing and reading by Louis Braille in 1824 certainly made a significant impact in the history of the world. It has been life-changing especially for the visually impaired. To discuss its Braille is a system of touch reading and writing for blind persons in which raised dots represent the letters of the alphabet. Braille also contains equivalents for punctuation marks and provides symbols to show letter groupings. It is read by moving the hand or hands from left to right along each line. Both hands are usually involved in the reading process, and reading is generally done with the index fingers. The average reading speed is about 125 words per minute, but greater speeds of up to 200 words per minute are possible. By using braille, blind people can review and study the written word. They can also become aware of different written conventions such as spelling, punctuation, paragraphing and footnotes. Braille gives blind individuals access to a wide range of reading materials. Equally important are contracts, regulations, insurance policies, directories and cookbooks that are all part of daily adult life. 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. Various other methods had been attempted over the years to enable reading for the blind, many of them raised versions of print letters. It is generally accepted that the braille system has succeeded because it is based on a rational sequence of signs devised for the fingertips, rather than imitating signs devised for the eyes. Before braille was invented, education of the blind was limited, because of how expensive and scarce education was. There were very few schools specifically for the blind, and public schools were not able to give blind students much of an education. Many blind people ended up as beggars because their families couldn’t support them and they didn’t have enough education to get a job. Braille improved education in many ways. It was more compacted than any other system, which made it easy to read and simple to understand. Quickly following the invention of braille, the stylus and slate were invented which made it much easier to write in braille. Braille was very flexible and was easily adapted into different languages. Also, it could be used in math and music, unlike many previous systems. The invention of braille gave blind people a universally accepted system which helped make education for the blind more organized and successful.
Braille improved communication for the blind by giving them a quick and efficient way to read and write. Since writing was the main method of communication at the time, being able to read and write was a big deal. Using Braille, the blind could read more books and even write books themselves. They could write letters much more easily using a slate and stylus, and they could read letters on their own, instead of having a sighted person read them out loud. By learning braille, they had access too much more independence. Even today, braille is still a very important tool for communication. For example, braille is used in public places such as on elevator buttons or on street corners. It is still used for reading and writing, not only on paper, but also with computers. As far as contributions to...
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