BrailleBlaster Question and Answer: Braille Software for Everyone

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Editor’s Note: Parents, would you like to create braille at home for your child? Now you can using the American Printing House for the Blind's (APH) BrailleBlaster™ software. All you need is access to an embosser or a refreshable braille display, and you can provide materials in braille for your visually impaired child. We've partnered with APH to answer your questions about this new, free software. Read today's post, share your questions and comments, and tune in on Wednesday, January 17th, as we answer your questions about this helpful resource.

boy sitting on the couch with his father reading braille

Home Is Where the Braille Is: BrailleBlaster™ Software Is for Everyone

By the American Printing House for the Blind

Software for transcribing braille has been available for many years, but due to cost, it has been out of reach for most home users. The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is changing that by offering the most powerful transcription software available free-of-charge! Originally designed for braille transcribers, BrailleBlaster™ can be downloaded and used by everyone, including parents, teachers, and students. Download at www.brailleblaster.org.

Special Question and Answer Event on January 17th

More about BrailleBlaster in a moment; we first want to invite you to an APH/AFB partner event right here on the FamilyConnect blog. If you have questions about how the BrailleBlaster software can make life easier for you and your child, type them in the comment section below or send them to info@aph.org. Return to the blog next week on Wednesday, January 17th, where we will be answering questions in the comment section starting at 9 a.m. EST.

You Can Create High-Quality Braille at Home

What would you braille for your child? Reminder notes, to-do lists, homework assignments, stories? Transcribe these and more into braille using the BrailleBlaster software. As a public service, APH is making its advanced transcribing software available free of charge. Although it is powerful, creating basic braille documents in BrailleBlaster is easy and does not require an in-depth knowledge of braille.

After you download and install the software on your Windows® PC or Mac®, simply copy and paste text from any document into BrailleBlaster. Instantly, excellent quality simulated braille will appear on your screen. This braille can then be edited for formatting in a similar way you edit text in a word processor. For example, to center a heading, put your cursor in front of the words you want to be centered, go to the toolbar, click on the headings button, select center, and the heading will automatically center.

Have an older student? BrailleBlaster is fully accessible and can be used by students to create their own braille!

Getting Braille Into Your Child's Hands

Now that you've created a braille document, there are two ways to get it into the hands of your braille reader: using a braille embosser or using a refreshable braille display.

If you have a braille embosser, you can create hard copy braille by sending your braille-ready file (.brf) from BrailleBlaster to the embosser.

If your child uses a refreshable braille display, you can save the file as a braille-ready file and e-mail it to them.

Frequently Asked Questions About BrailleBlaster

Have questions about using BrailleBlaster at home or at school? Find our FAQs here. You can also e-mail questions to APH at info@aph.org or ask your questions below in the comment section.

Gaining Access to Braille Technology

Braille Embossers: Although prices have decreased, the cost of braille embossers remains high. Fortunately, there are now more options than ever! Here is a list of possible resources for locating or purchasing an embosser. The list includes local places, such as libraries, that may have an embosser, a list of lower-cost embossers, and ideas on how to raise funds for buying assistive technology.

Refreshable Braille Displays: There are many good options for refreshable braille displays. One device is APH's upcoming Orbit Reader 20™, which has a significant price breakthrough.

How Will You Use BrailleBlaster?

We know BrailleBlaster will be useful in the home and in the school. It's free, so you can download it and experiment all you like on as many devices as you like. Let us know how you use BrailleBlaster; we're sure users are going to find more uses for it than we have imagined!

And remember, feel free to send your questions to info@aph.org and mark your calendar for our Q&A event next week, Wednesday, January 17th!

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