Benefits of Braille

It has been argued that with the advent of digital technology, Braille is becoming a less relevant tool for blind individuals.

However, over 150 million people continue to use Braille around the world today for a multitude of reasons.

The literacy argument 

The strongest case for the importance of Braille is linked to the 'literacy argument,' which advocates that Braille allows users to learn spelling, punctuation, and gain an understanding of how text is formatted on the page.

Audio books have provided an excellent additional resource for reading comprehension - but listening is not synonymous with reading and studies show that students who can read Braille tend to acquire higher literacy rates on average.

There are professional benefits to learning Braille as well. A survey conducted by Louisiana Tech University found that people with a visual impairment who learn to read through Braille have a much higher chance of securing a job (Transforming Braille Project Charter, June 2012). 

pupil reads braille with help of teacher

Technological advances

Rather than making it obsolete, today's technology makes Braille even more accessible and portable to its users in the form of Braille Notetakers, transcription software, and refreshable Braille displays for computers.

A young woman with visual impairment explained the significance of this development in a recent article featured in The Guardian saying, "Braille has a versatility and a fluidity that it has never had before. Braille is portable, searchable, downloadable... and if you harness it, Braille is better than it's ever been."

Pupil uses BrailleNote

The future of Braille 

With these points in mind, it is very exciting to think of how Braille might continue to evolve with technology and reach an even wider audience in the years to come. Helen Keller famously stated, "We, the blind, are as indebted to Louis Braille as mankind is to Gutenberg."

The ability to read and write in Braille opens the door to literacy, intellectual freedom, equal opportunity, and personal security. It is an extremely important gateway to opportunity for the UK's blind or partially sighted people, enabling them to be more independent.

 

Learn more about Braille at our Braille Facts page and download free games and quizes at our Braille Resources page