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Louis Braille Celebration

Happy Birthday, Louis: Concluding the Celebration

Susan Jay Spungin

Print edition page number(s) 741-742

It has been a wonderful year honoring Louis Braille, and I feel very privileged to have been part of the celebration. This year, JVIB featured this Louis Braille Celebration column in each issue to provide the leaders in the field of visual impairment and blindness the opportunity to express their views toward the man and the code he left behind.

We heard from teachers and teacher educators, consumers and a parent, all of whom expressed their views on the important role braille has played, both professionally and personally, in their lives, as well as in the lives of their students, colleagues, loved ones, and friends. Two individuals addressed technology and its impact on the future of braille by describing the way in which the code was expanded to accommodate the advent of computers and the Internet, as well as the development of braille-translation software and embossers, which allowed for greater access to both braille and the digital age and speeded the production and distribution of braille materials. One essay described Louis Braille as a man in the right place at the right time during the age of Enlightenment, which allowed his genius to flourish. One author stressed the importance of standardization on the future quality of braille instruction, and several mentioned the coming together of English-speaking countries in the modification and unification of their respective braille codes to improve literacy and access to materials for blind people around the world. Perhaps, by Louis Braille's next milestone birthday, the commonality of language and the respective braille codes in all languages will lend themselves to unified braille codes that are similar to the unified English braille code on which the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa are currently struggling to agree.

It has been a true honor to have served as the guest editor of the JVIB Louis Braille Celebration and to have worked with all the wonderful contributors. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have!

More Braille
Now that the celebration of Louis Braille's 200th birthday has concluded, readers can find all the JVIB Louis Braille Bicentennial Celebration essays online at <>. Discover more interesting information on the life and impact of Louis Braille at: <>.

Susan Jay Spungin, Ed.D., consultant and retired vice president for International Programs and Special Projects, American Foundation for the Blind; e-mail: <>.

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The Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB)--the international, interdisciplinary journal of record on blindness and visual impairment that publishes research and practice
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