Connecting the Dots

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I think everyone can agree that writing and reading is one of life’s greatest lessons. We learn at a young age our alphabet, followed by learning to write words in cursive, and eventually learn to use correct punctuation in full sentences. Finally, we begin to sound out letters and words which develop our reading skills and open up our imaginations. Literacy becomes a passion and a pleasure. The benefits are endless!

In today’s society, expectations of literacy are still highly essential among the employment world as well as the options for independent living. People could allow computers, television, and other devices of technology to do all the work for them but it isn’t very practical. I consider the loss of knowledge decreases a person’s freedom and academic achievement. People need to distinguish how to communicate with their own independence. No matter where the digital era takes us, we are responsible for own progress.

But, what happens if your vision is taken away from you? How can you read and write without seeing? Well, the answer is: CONNECTING THE DOTS!

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Here’s how it works

braille-2Braille is a system of touch reading and writing for the blind in which raised dots represent the letters of the alphabet. Naturally, people who read braille carry both hands and fingers over the combination of dots in order to read the material. In 1829, Louis Braille published “The Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Song by Means of Dots for Use by the Blind.” Braille is produced in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Arabic, Italian, and Hebrew. The method for the blind has been developed within a six-dot-cell in a 3 X 2 configuration. The system identifies 63 different dot patterns and symbols. Each Braille cell stands for a letter, a number, a punctuation mark, or a contraction. The small dots are used to describe letters, while the larger dots are used to describe punctuation. Every dot cell is different from the next forming a managed coding. Anyone can learn braille from sources off the internet, videos, or even attend braille institutions or organizations specifically for the visually impaired.

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Many people can use audiobooks, and speech software to hear language or music but it isn’t very useful when trying to teach yourself fundamentals of sentence structure and grammar. To some, braille may only seem like small dots on tablet or surface, but those dots are learning tools that teach visually impaired individuals a number of different things.

braille-7One example is that many blind people love music, just like their sighted peers. When it comes to learning an instrument and reading music, this is possible for blind people to do by using braille. There’s music software available, but to the blind, there’s nothing like feeling the dots under your fingertips. Personally, I would think that reading the music would most likely help the blind retain it better.

braille-8In another instance, for students, braille can be extremely useful when revising for exams. There’s so many ways of creatively revising with braille such as making short revision notes, and making flashcards. It can be great for organization too as you can braille yourself a revision timetable to put up and it’s something that you can refer back to it easily.

Also, one of the important factors about learning to read braille is being able to identify products that have braille on them. The collective dots are commonly seen on community phones, bathroom doors or wall signs, airports, bus stops, and ATM Machines. Apart from books and other related documents, braille can be used for

  • Braille labels

  • Receipts or bills

  • Graphics

  • Personal notes

  • Academics and studying

  • Menus

  • Pharmaceutical packaging

  • Tactile maps

  • The list goes on…

braille 9.jpgLearning to read and write Braille can be extremely challenging and takes a lot of practice. It is said that Braille is like learning another language or a secret code that few people know. So in a way, people who understand Braille have a special skill. Not only do you have to comprehend the dot configurations but you must feel the dots with a sensitive touch to feel each dot within a cell. It can be quite tedious, but eventually when you get the hang of it, braille will be like any normal source of language. It’s crazy to think that the knowledge of a simple “dot or dots” can change the lives of the visually impaired. It offers them the gratification to write for themselves, read books, play games, and even pursue hobbies. Most importantly, the small dots benefit blind individuals to experience the joy of literacy without feeling defeated. In other words, the language system can build equality for the blind among other people without needing too much help. Although I don’t know how to read or write braille myself, I’m sure connecting the dots would be interesting to study.

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