Braille Literacy Awareness

by Mia Hairston, Program Coordinator

In 1824, a blind French boy named Louis Braille created a system that revolutionized the way millions communicated within the world. Braille, a tactile system consisting of raised dot characters arranged in cells, offers a means of reading and writing for the blind and visually impaired. At 15 years old, Louis Braille introduced this system while a student at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth. Although a similar tactile-based code inspired his system, Braille was considered far more comprehensive in form and efficiency, undisputedly becoming the most widely used literacy touch system worldwide.

Braille is just as relevant today as it was over two centuries ago when it originated. It is a gateway to abundant reading materials, games, and musical compositions. Braille is transcribed across 133 languages and maintains its original structure to date. 

Technology advances Braille literacy further with mobile applications, devices, and specialty printers, making it even more accessible. Braille literacy is significant in educational institutions as it promotes inclusivity and ensures learners have equal access to educational resources. For Braille-specific educational resources, please reference the list below.

Educational Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired:

American Foundation for the Blind–  A variety of resources, including assistive technology products, tips for teaching Braille, and a Braille Accessibility Consulting Team option 

Braile on Demand– A program offered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled Library of Congress to support Braille patrons and readers with up to 5 monthly hardcopy Braille texts

Chromebook Accessibility ToolsAccessibility features created to empower people with disabilities

Michigan Braille and Talking Book LibraryAn audio library with thousands of books for those with physical, visual, or reading disabilities

Perkins eLearning Blog– helpful strategies for teachers and students to support the visually impaired

Self-Advocacy in Higher Education Toolkit– A student resource offered by The National Federation of the Blind

The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons– A Michigan-based organization providing training and services for people who are blind or visually impaired

In January of each year, homage is paid to Louis Braille during his birth month, celebrating the tremendous impact of his invention that continues to support the lives of millions each day. This month and every month, we recognize the importance of educational equality and the tools and resources that make academic achievement possible.

Please tune in to the CETL webpage for additional resources on accessibility and inclusivity. For more information on Detroit Mercy and student accessibility services, please contact the Student Success Center