The End of Braille?

Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million legally blind Americans now read Braille, down from around half in the 1950s. Reporter Rachel Aviv wrote about the dying language earlier this year in The New York Times Magazine. Read transcript or listen to full story here. (You can also download a MP3 of story)


2 points on the importance of learning to read:
1. We don't consider listening to recorded books a sufficient skill for sighted children because we can clearly understand that being illiterate is a huge handicap. It is absolutely the same for blind children.

2. Blind Braille readers are much more likely to be employed than blind people who are illiterate. Adaptive technology is a boon, but it does not take the place of being able to read.

One of the big differences is that blind children used to attend special residential schools staffed with teachers qualified to teach Braille. Children who are mainstreamed don't have the opportunity to learn to read Braille because most public school teachers can't teach it.

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