Browse By Topic: Braille

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. Learn more about braille and other ways children who are blind or have low vision can learn to read and write.

Braille Tales: Free Book Program for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Editor's note: Today's blog post is about the American Printing House for the Blind's "Braille Tales Book Program" for children who are blind or visually impaired. This free program offers participating families six free print/braille books per year up to the child's sixth birthday. Visually impaired mother, Holly Bonner, shares her story of using "Braille Tales" with her two daughters. This blog was originally posted on Holly's website, Blind Motherhood. American Printing House for the Blind's Free Braille Tales By Holly Bonner With multiple studies indicating the tremendous benefits early reading has on


The Importance of Braille: World Braille Day 2017

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


Accessible Valentines for Your Child or Adult Who is Blind or Just Loves Braille!

Valentine's Day is right along the corner. Nothing could be better than to give or receive a fully accessible card in braille. This is possible but time is running out. We have several recommendations but they are time sensitive so check out our Valentine's Day Card, Craft, and Gift Ideas for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired page right away. As Valentine's Day approaches, how do you support your child's impulse to create a handmade gift for grandma and grandpa, or in later years, keep up with the inevitable


Welcome UEB: A Little History, Resources, and a Call for Input from Families!

Editor's note: This is the third blog entry that both informs and requests the assistance of families in answering important questions that impact all who use braille. Please help Drs. Holly Lawson and Kathryn Botsford with this effort. This is an exciting month: Louis Braille’s birthday, World Braille Day, and the United States has officially transitioned to the Unified English Braille


The Code That Changed the Course of History. Happy Birthday, Louis Braille.

The year was 1821. On a day like any other, 12-year-old Louis Braille, blinded from an eye injury in his father’s leather shop and subsequent double-eye infection, attended school outside of Paris. This day, however, he met Captain Charles Barbier. Barbier, a retired artillery officer, showcased his invention to Louis’ class. The invention was called “sonography”; a system of writing and reading in the dark via 12-dot cells produced by methodically piercing paper with a slim knife. The system was bulky and unrefined, but Barbier presented it to the school for the blind as


Inspired by the Holidays: A Letter from Santa and Literacy Galore for Your Child who is Blind or Visually Impaired

Thank you, holiday season, for generating major motivation for our beautiful little people to read and write. When my children come home from school this afternoon I will ask them to write a Christmas wish list. I’ll grin as I watch their uncharacteristic enthusiasm for literacy. My oldest, the perfectionist, will ask for help with spelling. My youngest, the ultra-spirited one, will be content with guessing. I’ll be happy they’re practicing. Let’s think of further ideas for incorporating literacy training this frosty month: This is too cool. If you sign up online


Seeking Family Members for a Focus Group Study on Unified English Braille eLearning Platform

Editor's note: This is the second blog entry that both informs and requests the assistance of families in answering important questions that impact all who use braille. Please help Holly Lawson and Kathryn Botsford with this effort. Unified English Braille (UEB) is almost here... Braille is getting a makeover. In January 2016, students, adult consumers, their teachers, and their families will be starting to learn changes to the braille code with the United State’s adoption of the Unified English Braille (UEB) code. UEB Prep At Portland State University (PSU) we realize that not everyone learns best


Parents Can Now Learn ABCs of UEB

Editor's note; we bring you more resources for the topic of the transition into UEB. By Sheryl Bass, The Hadley School for the Blind An exciting new introductory braille instructional course has just become available through the Family Education Program at The Hadley School for the Blind entitled Introduction to Braille, UEB Edition. The Hadley School for the Blind is the largest provider of distance education for people who are blind and visually impaired worldwide. Beginning in 2016, new braille materials will be produced in Unified English Braille (UEB) throughout the United States. This course provides the tools for those interested in


Unified English Braille (UEB) Is Almost Here...

Editor's Note: Braille is important to everyone who is blind as it provides tactile access to the written word. Holly and Kathryn want you to be aware of the upcoming changes to the braille code, and also assist them by participating in a discussion of families learning braille through online courses. You may have heard that the braille code, the tactile system used by people with visual impairments to access print, is getting a makeover. In January 2016, blind adults, students, their teachers, and their families will be starting to learn changes to the braille code with which


Back to School Tips for Older Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

It is back to school season and thousands of students are returning to elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. Many visually impaired students have to do special preparation to go back to school. As a graduate student I would like to suggest some tips in preparation for school. Preparation is very important for a student’s success in college but the most importantly in my opinion is your attitude about school. You have come this far in deciding or being enrolled in an institution—now with a little motivation and perseverance you will help yourself in the process of acquiring knowledge and skills that will help


How to Ease the Transition from Summer Break to a New School Year for Your Child Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

Yes, it’s a substantial transition. One that repositions our children from the familiarity and comfort of home or daycare in the summer, to brand new classrooms, a different mix of student-peers, unfamiliar teachers, and more intense studies. But don’t fear, the transition from summer break to school can be done well with a little preparation and strategy, and perhaps a dash of fun! Ideas for easing the summer-to-school transition: Continually talk with your child about when school will begin, what he can expect at school, and his feelings regarding school. Sufficient sleep will be essential to our


Back to School Tips for Parents of Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Can it be true? Is it really time for back to school? It seems like the summer just started and here we are at the start of another school year. I hope you all were able to use some of the tips on the summertime activity posts we did on our summertime blog party with the website WonderBaby and all the bloggers who shared their posts. We hope to have more parties in the future as a way to share resources and ideas on important topics. In the next several weeks we will post blog entries on


My Suggestions for College Success

We are pleased to introduce you to Irwin Ramirez who will be blogging for us this summer. Irwin is completing his Master’s Degree in computer science and is working as an intern for the American Foundation for the Blind’s web department. He will be sharing his experiences and perspective as a young adult who is blind. His areas of interest are accessibility consulting, web design and assistive technology training. He was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States when he is 17. I urge you to follow his blog, ask him questions and post comments. I would like to share my college experience as a visually impaired student. There


Braille for Children's Clothing

I wanted you to know about a parent who has created a solution for helping her child be independent while dressing. Gracie Benedith has created these items and sent me the pictures and descriptions. As a mother of a legally blind child, I saw the struggles that my son had to deal with getting dressed every single morning. My husband and I had to get up earlier to assist him with his clothes while trying to teach him how to get dressed independently. I suddenly had an epiphany to start a clothing line for blind and visually impaired people called Braille Code! Why not have a clothing line that they can call their own? I designed this line with style that would


Louis Braille's Gift of Furthering Independence for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired

I am no stranger to the theme of independence. My husband is a member of the United States Air Force. We live on an American military base in Japan. I can't leave my house without being reminded of the independence I have been gifted, for I live alongside those who protect it and sacrifice for it. Oh, how thankful I am! And there's the independence my husband and I daily (okay, hourly!) instill in our preschool children. For example, I often see a dreadfully messy room, and while it would be ten times less of an ordeal if I quickly reorganized it, I choose to call out, "Sweethearts!" (I say


My Son's Experience with the Perkins SMART Brailler

I have been asking for the new Perkins SMART Brailler(r), since it first came on the market. The price tag of $2,000.00 is just a little out of my price range. It is not covered by quota funds. The services for the blind, through Catholic Charities in Maine, doesn't even have one to use/try. So we have been slogging along with the electric brailler with me dictating. We have been working on finger positions of the braille cell. Vinnie is now able to write about anything I dictate including correct capitalization and punctuation. I understand that teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) do not teach punctuation and capitalization when they begin teaching


Happy Birthday, Louis Braille!

In honor of what would have been Louis Braille's 205th birthday, we asked parents and educators to reflect on the importance of his braille code in their children's lives. Emily Coleman writes about Why Those Dots Are Important to Me Susan Harper, a home-schooling mom and frequent guest blogger, writes about What Braille Means to Our Son and Family Dr. Kay Ferrell, who monitors FamilyConnect's Parents of


Touching Letters...Touching Lives

Editorial Note: In honor of National Braille Literacy Month, we asked guest blogger Michael Cavanaugh, a dad who lives in Seattle, Washington, to write about what braille has meant to him. Getting the Diagnosis Life was turned upside down for me in 1993 when I learned my newborn son was blind. The doctors originally thought he had congenital cataracts and recommended immediate surgery. On the day of surgery, after what seemed like an eternity, the surgeon said the operation revealed Norrie's Disease and there was no chance of restoring any sight. My capsized life started to sink. My pediatrician assured me that she would contact someone who could alleviate my fears, and called the


Happy Birthday, Louis Braille!

It was 204 years ago on this date that Louis Braille was born. His invention and refinement of the braille code opened the doors to education and literacy in general for individuals with vision loss. After two centuries, braille continues to be at the core of necessary skills for independence. You can learn more about Louis


Inventor of Top-Braille Wins a Prestigious Award, Makes Headlines Around the World

Each year, for 109 years, the Lépine Contest in France selects a famous invention. This year the Top-Braille handheld device for instant playback of any printed text in braille or speech has won the prizeselected from more than 500 inventions! It is so cool to see how far technology has come in making communication accessible for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. It's great to see that this device is being recognized and I hope that it will bring awareness to the public about the


Celebrate Children's Book Week with Braille, Tactile, and Large-Print Books

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend, and maybe even scored some precious rest. This week, I wanted to alert you to another special occasion: Children's Book Week! Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, and homes around the countryany place where there are children and books. How will you and your family celebrate? Check the FamilyConnect calendar for events and programs near you, and explore the resources that partners like


Exploring Foreign Languages with Braille

I recently came across this interesting article written by a dad in Los Angeles, Eric Vasiliauskas, who wanted to share his Lithuanian culture with his blind son: "Enriching Your Blind Child's Life via Foreign Language Braille". Literacy and braille are so very important and this site brings into focus how families can bring foreign language into braille for their children. What do you think, have you tried introducing your child to a foreign language in braille? I would love to hear about your experiences. By the way, I just learned that AFB's Braille Bug(r) site has added a good introductory article about


Falling in Love with Braille

Hello everyone! Happy New Year! I'm Cay Holbrook. I am thrilled to be connecting with you this month and hope that we can have some very interesting discussions and learn from each other. First I will tell you a little bit about myself. When I was an undergraduate student at Florida State University, I happened to know a fellow student who was in the program to prepare teachers of students with visual impairments. I went over to his house one Sunday afternoon and he was completing his braille homework and I started looking at the Perkins braillerwriter and his textbook. It was love at first sight! I was so intrigued with those six dots and I spent


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