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National AccessAbility Week: A Myth We Actually Wish Was a Reality

By Linda Bartram

Myth # 3: Most blind people read braille.

It would be good if this was not a myth but the reality is that very few persons who are blind actually learn to read Braille. If legally blind children have enough vision to be able to see large print they are often not encouraged to learn and use Braille, even when reading with their eyes is slow and sometimes painful and their eyesight is likely to deteriorate. Since the advent of speech output technology, this trend has become even more popular despite research that shows that learning Braille affords a higher level of literacy. Braille readers are also more likely to be employed.

Learning Braille as an adult can be challenging. It requires a certain level of sensitivity in your fingers but this can be developed with practice. It also requires some memory capacity which may be diminished in older adults. But even a beginner level of proficiency makes independent tasks like identifying paperwork, CDs or spices possible. There is also a trend to providing more Braille in the public realm as a result of accessibility legislation across the country.

So give learning Braille a try if you can no longer read print labels. The exercise will improve your tactile skills which will be beneficial in remaining independent with daily living tasks. Braille Literacy Canada offers support and peer connections with others who may be able to help you with your Braille journey.

IMAGE ALT TEXT: Photo of young student reading braille.


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