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What is the Braille System?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2016
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The Braille system is manner of printing that enables visually impaired or blind people to read and write. This system uses an alphabetic touch system in the form of elevated marks that resemble tiny circles or bumps, each representing letters of the alphabet. To read, one must touch the special marks representing the alphabet. Readers move their fingers in succession over the indentations in much the same way one's eyes might move along a printed page. The Braille system also incorporates numbers and punctuation.

The Braille system was designed by Louis Braille in the early 1800s. Braille was originally from a small village near Paris, France. He was blinded by a mishap when he was a toddler. Braille's vision loss inspired him to create a system of reading and writing for the blind.

Before entering his teens, Braille conceived of the special coding for what later became known as the Braille system. It quickly caught on and opened up a whole new world of opportunity for those who had previously been unable to read or exchange ideas in writing. The Braille system is available for nearly every language imaginable.

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These days, the Braille system is used by visually impaired people worldwide. In schools for the blind, students have used slates and a stylus from the earliest times, although modern technology has allowed for the use of more advanced tools. The Braille writer makes work more efficient when a stylus is too time consuming. This machine somewhat resembles the typewriter, although the keys are quite different.

Blind musical composers use a Braille system for songwriting. This system differs somewhat from the standard alphabet Braille technology and is meant for composing and reading music notes. In addition to the music aspect of Braille, complex mathematical equations may be written and executed within a specially formulated Braille structure. Using the Internet also is possible for the blind with technology based on the Braille system.

There are Braille library services available at just about every major public library in the United States. Nearly every classic book is available in Braille. In addition, the Braille Institute of America offers many diverse services for the blind. The institute is based in Los Angeles, California. This non-profit organization offers literary programs for all ages.

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