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Reading and Writing Aids: Braille

Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      What is Brialle?

      Braille is often the primary reading language used by blind Americans. However, many blind and visually impaired adults are unable to read and write Braille, and rely instead on recorded materials, personal readers, or electronic access to read everything from popular fiction to scientific notations. Most estimates indicate that the number of Braille readers has been shrinking. Changing educational techniques and new technologies have reduced the number of Braille users. More recently, however, there has been a renewed interest in Braille literacy among educators and consumers alike.

      The Braille system enables persons to read using the sense of touch. A simple arrangement of six embossed dots in varying configurations can represent letters, punctuation marks, numbers, musical notations, and scientific symbols. The building block of the Braille system is known as the Braille cell. Composed of six dots, two columns across and three rows down, each dot in the cell is assigned a number from 1 to 6.

      Here is an example of a Braille cell:

      The Braille Authority of North America establishes standards for Braille usage in the United States. This organization sets rules for the use of Braille contractions and for formatting documents and publications. Four separate Braille codes are currently used in the United States. These codes are established for literacy, mathematics, science, computers, and music notation.