Monday, October 07, 2013

Six Dots

Although I would stand on a mountain top and proclaim that every blind person needs to learn how to read and write braille, I must admit that I hardly ever use it. I truly can't recall the last time I ran my fingers over a word written in braille. Well, perhaps in an elevator or possibly on one of the alphabet cards I use to introduce blindness to the young audiences I speak to...

The truth is that I very seldom use braille in my personal life. I mostly use what I consider to be the smartest technology for the blind in the history of the world. I use screen-reading software on my computers, smart phones with speech, optical character recognition to scan print documents into print, and a digital book reader to read anything my heart desires.

So, why do I think that people who are blind should still learn braille?
Braille is the pathway to becoming and remaining literate. If all of this technology was to disappear, I would still know how to read and write without having to be plugged into a wall socket.

Furthermore, speech programs are all fine and good. But the truth is that if we do everything by audio, then that means a person that's blind is never getting a chance to see how a word is actually spelled. For instance, the word "poignant" is spelled quite differently than it sounds.

So, I'm making a commitment to order a braille book so I can brush up on my braille reading skills. I need to keep my fingers familiar with those six special dots.

No comments: