by Harriet Smith

Thinking back over the years, it is interesting to see how braille has changed throughout my life.

I don’t remember learning braille, but I’ve been told that I used to feel and sort through a lot of seeds in order for my fingers to become sensitive to it. This is important from a young age because it can be hard to learn braille when you’re older as your fingers are less sensitive. I absolutely love braille and would hate to be without it. I think it is wonderful how the development of technology has allowed braille to evolve so I can still use it now. For example, I use a computer called a Braillenote Touch Plus the majority of the time, which enables me to read and write in braille using the electronic braille display and cells at the bottom. Although this is a very different experience to reading on traditional braille paper, I have got accustomed to it now and can’t imagine doing it any other way.

If you know someone who isn’t interested in learning braille, or you yourself are hesitant, I would definitely recommend trying it if you can because it is a useful skill to have. Even just knowing the basics such as the alphabet can be really helpful, because often there are braille labels on medicine boxes. If someone uses an iPhone or iPad to access information using the voice over screen reader instead of using braille, it is possible to buy braille displays that can pair to the device via Bluetooth and be used alongside as an alternative to the touchscreen. As well as my Braillenote Touch, I also use an iPhone with a braille display called a Brailliant. This has completely transformed the way I use the phone and has made navigation a lot easier for me.

Despite its decline, I believe braille will be around for many years to come thanks to technology and we should embrace all it has to offer!

Id braille an important part of your life? I’d love to hear how you feel about it in the comments below.

Harriet                             

If you love braille as much as me, you can enter the VICTA Braille Art competition which celebrates #WorldBrailleDay. The competition closes on 31 January 2022, find out how to enter here >

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