World Braille Day: A Road to Accessibility

World Braille Day is commemorated on January 4 to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication for people with visual impairment.

World Braille Day is commemorated on January 4 to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication for people with visual impairment.

 

The Braille System

 

Braille is a reading and writing system that uses tactile representation. That is, it is used by means of the hands. It consists of alphabetic and numerical symbols. It uses 6 dots to represent each letter and number. It also includes musical, mathematical and scientific symbols. It is used by visually impaired people to communicate.

 

World Braille Day was chosen because of the birth date of the creator of this system, Louis Braille, on January 4, 1809. Braille became blind due to an accident during his childhood while playing in his father’s workshop. Later, based on the system used by the military man Charles Barbier de la Serre, he reinvented it with a matrix of 8 and then 6 dots.

 

The braille system provides 64 different combinations with these 6 dots. The way to read it is to move the hand from left to right, passing through each written line. It is estimated that braille users can read 104 to 125 words per minute. Therefore, it is a tool that is usually quite effective and easy to learn.

 

Braille and accessibility

 

Braille is an indispensable means of accessibility, as reflected in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Therefore, it is intended to have an important place in the contexts of education, freedom of expression and opinion, access to information and written communication, as well as to achieve the social inclusion of all people.

 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 1.3 billion people in the world are blind or visually impaired. This makes them more likely to have greater health challenges and to be disadvantaged in accessing education and employment. There are several factors that can cause blindness and visual impairment, so it is important to regularly visit specialists in the field, such as ophthalmologists and optometrists, to provide appropriate treatment to patients.

 

There is often concern in the blind and visually impaired community about the use of braille, particularly in educational and occupational settings. This is due to the common belief that technological devices, such as e-books, audio books and screen readers, can replace it. However, thanks to braille, more people can access reading and writing, activities of great value to society as a whole.

 

Braille for children

 

Braille allows visually impaired children to communicate using their hands and to access many sources of knowledge.

 

To start using the Braille system, it is necessary for the child to have good spatial orientation and a trained sense of touch. He/she must master the concepts of up, down, right and others, the knowledge of elementary geometric figures and simple silhouettes, as well as the knowledge of Braille signs.

 

Braille writing can be done in two ways: manually or using a keyboard. Reading is done by first placing the book horizontally. Then the fingers are placed on the line, making a small pressure. Both hands must be used independently.

 

By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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