Why is Braille Important?
According to Dave Williams, from the Braillists;
We recorded a short audio package about what braille means to people:
Major blindness organizations around the world, (RNIB, AFB…) link braille literacy with the employ ability of blind people. Anecdotally it appears that blind people with braille skills tend to be more likely to be in jobs. Certainly many high profile blind people: White, Blunkett, O’Donoghue, Wonder et al have stated braille has been key in their success.
Spelling, punctuation, layout are all reinforced when you have braille as well as speech access to content.
Braille in meetings and presentations means ears can be freed to focus entirely on colleagues or customers.
Practical use cases include: labeling medication, exchanging greetings cards, finding a particular hotel room, playing cards and board games with sighted family, etc.
Learning braille can be made easier by:
Developing strong pre-braille skills with tactile activities as early as possible.
Make the content fun and relevant to the learner. What kinds of reading material would excite you.
Little and often is much better than the occasional long session.
Keep braille close by in the environment: labels, cards, letters, etc.
Create opportunities for shared reading experiences. I’m reading Harry Potter in braille with my sighted son who is looking at the print. We can go at our own pace, talk about any plot points as they come up, trade Hagrid impressions, etc. Stephen Fry is brilliant, but nothing compares with reading stories with your kids.
Incidental reading. Draw attention to braille in the built environment: lifts, hotel rooms etc. Also the co-op stock many own brand products that have braille on the packaging.
Set achievable goals. For example recognize your own name from a bunch of other names, read x number of words per minute by an agreed deadline, keep a diary, write a shopping list and use it, etc.
— Dave Williams