Passionate about Braille


The question for bloganuary today was about what cause I’m passionate about.

I asked Michael this, and he said, “Braille literacy.”

“Can you expand on that?” I asked.

“Sure. Many blind people grow up not learning braille. They listen to everything. Please don’t misunderstand me. There’s nothing wrong with audio. The problem I have is that many people don’t even have the option of learning braille. It simply isn’t ever mentioned or it’s belittled and called outdated, old-fashioned, or even dead. Nonsense!”

“So what you’re saying is that people should have choices, right? Both braille and audio should be offered to children.”

“Yeah, and to adults too. I know it might be harder to learn braille if you’re already an adult, but I think most people can learn braille. Audio and braille should always be offered.”

“What advantages does braille have?”

Michael smiled.

“You’ll always know how words and names are spelled. I remember one time at school I had this book with a character name I’d never heard. Phineas or something like that. I thought the name was spelled Finius. The teacher corrected me and it was kind of embarrassing. I know that sighted people make spelling mistakes too, but being able to read the words the same way they do makes me feel more, like, what’s the word, like things are more fair.”

“Equal?”

“Yeah, it makes me equal.” He laughed. “I can make the same spelling mistakes everybody else does.”

“I get it. Does braille have any other advantages?”

“Well, if you lose your hearing, audio would become difficult or impossible. Braille would still be there. It’s a good thing to know braille, even if you prefer audio. There’s nothing wrong with preferring spoken; it’s just that braille gets overlooked when it might be what a person would really like. The devices do cost more and the books are big, but it’s worth learning about, even if you decide you like audio better.”

I agree with Michael. I want people to have options. I also think that if people learn about braille, there’ll be less pity and stigma attached to being blind.

Learn more about braille in our upcoming children’s book, Our Place: Monica and Brad Start School.

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