Braille is a method of reading and writing for individuals who are blind, and is equal in value to the printed word for those who have sight. It was developed in 1824 by Louis Braille, who was blinded as a small child. As Braille himself once said, “Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge.”
Braille increases opportunities by providing a means of mastering grammar and spelling, proofreading documents, developing a writing style, and reading books, articles, emails, and web pages. Many technological changes have occurred since the invention of braille. Advancements in screen reading software, braille note takers, and refreshable braille displays create greater opportunities for education and employment.
Teaching braille gives students the power of literacy and independence that cannot be rivaled by any other form of access. The skills developed through reading and writing braille promote intellectual freedom, a greater sense of security, and equal opportunities. As Helen Keller stated, “We, the blind, are as indebted to Louis Braille as mankind is to Gutenberg.”