Sunday, 17 September 2017

Is Braille relevant today ?

Image result for brailleThe question is asked, could a further query apply to sign language being replaced by text ?   Sign has lost out already in Media and via iphone. 

When Renita Rogers was growing up, her mother pinned her outfits together to help make sure her daughter wore clothes that matched. Today, Rogers, who has been blind since birth, just uses an application on her smartphone. Demonstrating its capability last week at The Blind Center of North Carolina, she simply aimed it at her shirt and an audible voice said, “dark gray.”

Such technological conveniences might lead some to question whether something as basic as Braille is still relevant in modern society. But those who work with people who are blind and visually impaired say the tactile writing system developed in the 1800s is far from obsolete.

“We need to continue to given children with significant vision loss a way to access the written word,” said Robin Bliven, lead teacher for deaf and hard of hearing and visually impaired for Pitt County Schools.“While auditory information is more readily available across the board, continuing to promote literacy skills is going to be a foundation of education no matter what.” Liz Liles, executive director of The Blind Center in Washington, N.C., said even clients who lost their sight later in life are sometimes interested in learning Braille. Doris Wilson, 73 is one of them.

Why? “So if I want to read something, I can read it for myself,” Wilson said. Liles said despite the availability of audio books and forms of technology that read documents for people who are blind and visually impaired, Braille instruction remains desirable. “We find that there are a number of people who are still wanting to have the opportunity (for instruction),” she said. “It's still a skill, and it's still a resource that can most definitely be used.”

For some, using Braille is a matter of personal choice. For others, it represents a level of independence.