The Importance of Braille: World Braille Day 2017
by Shannon Carollo
There's just something about braille, isn’t there? By "something" I’m actually not referring to how downright adorable it is to watch a toothless babe patting the pages of a braille book, or how we’re beaming with pride when a six-year-old (whose grin exposes she’s also rather toothless) reads a simple sentence of her braille work. I’m, instead, referring to the tremendous asset braille provides an adult who is blind or visually impaired.
Braille is, after all, the code that changed the course of history for our children (our future adults). With it comes proficient and strain-free literacy (not the case with a nose pressed against a print page), furthered independence and I’d add a more positive self-image that develops from successful reading and writing experiences.
Take a look at the statistics regarding adults who are blind or visually impaired who extensively learned braille in early childhood. They are more likely to be employed than their visually impaired peers who struggled through learning print. Yes, it’s easy to recognize the value of braille and the asset it is to individuals with vision loss. No, we can’t claim the statistical discrepancy is due to additional disabilities, as people with multiple disabilities work, too!
This means for you, parents of children who are blind or visually impaired, braille is worth fighting for! Be an advocate; it doesn’t matter if your child is solely blind or has multiple disabilities, and it doesn’t matter how busy the teacher is...literacy is a right and not a privilege.
Your child’s teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) needs you to be vocal about your child receiving adequate braille instruction (likely every day) because administrators listen to assertive parents. So speak out; unless there is a well-assessed and documented reason why braille is inappropriate, braille should be the medium of choice for a person with a visual impairment.
Arm yourself with a knowledge regarding all-things braille by visiting the below web pages and speak up on behalf of your child:
- Here, you’ll find an overview of braille
- Read what braille means to one family and their son with a visual impairment
- Learn how braille is taught and how parents can help the learning process at home
- Check out these braille teaching strategies from our Facebook friends
- Some parents want to know about choosing the right iPad for teaching braille literacy
- Review FamilyConnect's literacy resources
- Listen to AFB's free webinar, a brief overview of Unified English Braille
Additionally, the Braille Bug® is a great way for sighted children (siblings or school peers) to learn more about braille through accessible puzzles, riddles, trivia, and secret "coded" messages.
Happy birthday to the late Louis Braille and Happy World Braille Day to all!
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