Description of Tactile Sensitivity and Braille Reading in People With Early Blindness and Late Blindness
Structured abstract: Introduction: The inability to read quickly can be a disadvantage throughout life. This study focused on the associations of braille reading fluency and individual factors, such as the age at onset of blindness and number of years reading braille, and the tactile sensitivity of people with early and late blindness. The relationship between reading speed and these other factors was examined to identify factors that influence reading speed. Methods: Nine people with early blindness and 10 people with late blindness participated in this study, which included the measurement of accuracy of word recognition, braille reading speed, and tactile sensitivity. Results: We found a significant partial correlation between reading speed and the age at onset of blindness, controlling for number of years reading braille (r = −0.68, p < .005), and no significant partial correlation between tactile sensitivity and reading speed after controlling for the age at onset of blindness (r = −0.08, ns). Discussion: A direct relationship between reading speed and tactile sensitivity was not confirmed, and the age at onset of blindness appears not only to mediate the relationship between reading speed and tactile sensitivity but also may be a crucial factor influencing braille reading fluency. Implications for practitioners: Our results suggested that a crucial factor that influences braille reading fluency was the age at onset of blindness, and that individuals should begin learning braille as early as possible.