A woman reading a braille book. / Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images Braille is a tactile system that blind people use to learn to read and write, invented in 1824 by a blind French educator named Louis Braille. He revolutionized an existing writing and reading system that allowed blind people to enjoy books and communication. I certainly don't know how I would've learned and communicated without reading and writing braille. I think every generation of blind students wonders how those before them managed to learn using the technology on hand. I had a teacher who made me practice braille with a torturous slate and stylus . Think of it as the braille equivalent of pencil and paper in which the user punches out every … single … dot … by hand using a kind of template. Later on, I used a Perkins Brailler —a typewriter where paper is fed into the machine and you press keys to punch the dots. Today, students just starting their braille education have smart technology devices. Perhaps those who come after them will have something fresher and newer at their fingertips. Here are 10 other cool facts about braille you should know. 1. Louis Braille injured himself with an awl. Louis Braille was born in the village of Coupvray, France, in 1809. When he was 3 years old, he accidentally stabbed himself in his right eye with an awl , a pointed tool from his father's harness shop—ironically, the very tool he'd use later in his life to press dots into paper while perfecting braille. There was nothing anyone could do to save his vision, and sadly, his left eye also became infected. He was totally blind by the age of 5. When he was 10, a local priest convinced the only school in Paris for blind students, the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, to offer the young boy a scholarship. He attended and eventually taught at the school. 2. Braille developed his reading and writing system when he was only 15. A bust of Louis Braille. / General Photographic Agency/Getty Images At the Royal Institute, students […]
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