Celebrating Birth Anniversary of Louis Braille

Today, January 4, 2015 marks the birthday of Louis Braille (born: January 4, 1809 and died January 6, 1852). As a young boy Louis Braille invented the “braille” system. This system was largely unused by most educators for many years after his death.To celebrate his birthday, we thought of compiling some information from different published sources for the benefit of our readers.

Key facts WHO ( August 2014)

  • 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision.
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings.
  • 82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above.
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle- and low-income countries.
  • The number of people visually impaired from infectious diseases has reduced in the last 20 years according to global estimates work.
  • 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.

“The system caught on, but began declining in the 1960s along with the widespread integration of blind children into public schools. It has continued with the advent of technology that some believe makes Braille obsolete.
”Back in about 1970 or so, I was heading to college, and somebody said to me, ‘Now that you’ve got the tape recorder, everything will be all right. In the early 1980s, somebody else said, ‘Now that you’ve got a talking computer, everything will be all right,”‘ said Marc Maurer, president of the federation.
”They were both wrong. And the current technology isn’t going to make everything all right unless I know how to put my hands on a page that has words on it and read them.””

— Associated Press article

Braille without Borders

“Before the opening of the Project, blind children in the Tibet Autonomous Region did not have access to education. They led a life on the margin of society with few chances of integration. According to official statistics 30.000 of the 2.5 million inhabitants of the T.A.R. are blind or highly visually impaired.”
— Braille Without Borders

Braille Matters

“Despite the link between braille literacy and employment, braille literacy rates for school-age blind children have declined from greater than 50 percent (40 years ago) to only 12 percent today. Part of the reason for this decline can be attributed to the mainstreaming of blind students into the public school system, where significantly less time is available for learning braille. Another factor is that many people believed that talking computers would replace the need to learn braille. However, listening alone is not enough. Research shows that braille provides a critical advantage for students to learn grammar, language, math, and science.”
— National Braille Press

World Braille Usage

http://www.perkins.org/international/world-braille-usage

“World Braille Usage was first published in 1953, and the second edition followed in 1990. The latest 2013 edition is available in a downloadable format as a PDF. ”
— Perkins

“Braille, as the world’s pre-eminent system of touch reading and writing used by people who are blind, continues to be a vital tool of literacy. Allowing immediate and direct access to written communication, braille has broadened from a method for reading embossed books to a multimodal tool encompassing a myriad of uses, from braille signage and product labeling to refreshable braille displays. As a tool for writing, it also allows a person who is blind to easily record accurate information and access that information quickly for later use.”
— World Braille Usage report

Louis Braille developed the system in 1821, as you can see from the collection of information in this post. The Braille system is critical for education for the blind even after different methods of text to speech technologies have been invented in our computerized society.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *