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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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Browse By Topic: Braille

Braille is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision. Teachers, parents, and others who are not visually impaired ordinarily read braille with their eyes. Braille is not a language. Rather, it is a code by which many languages—such as English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and dozens of others—may be written and read. Braille is used by thousands of people all over the world in their native languages, and provides a means of literacy for all.

The specific code used in the United States has been English Braille, American Edition but as of 2016 the main code for reading material is Unified English Braille, a code used in seven other English-speaking countries.

New Design for Medicare Cards Raises Accessibility Questions for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

In September of this year, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced that redesigned cards will be issued to all Medicare recipients starting in April of 2018. This project is known as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI). The reason for the change in card design is so that individuals' Social Security numbers can be replaced by a new "Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)"a unique, randomly assigned series of numbers and upper-case letters for each card holder. The move away from placing Social Security numbers on Medicare cards is


Celebrating Louis Braille's Birthday and AFB's Commitment to Braille Literacy

Every January 4, we celebrate the birthday of Louis Braille, who developed his famous braille code when he was only a teenager. Learn more about the creation of the braille code by exploring AFB's Louis Braille Online Museum. The American Foundation for the Blind's recognition of the importance of braille has been a constant throughout the 95 years of our existence. AFB took the lead to standardize the English braille code, making it cheaper and easier to produce. Our first CEO, Dr. Robert Irwin, was in the forefront of the delegation that successfully brought


Beyond Recognition: What Machines Don't Read

Helen Keller reading braille at her home in Westport, Connecticut. October 1965. I am delighted that the fifth in our series of posts focusing on the Helen Keller Digitization Project is from Mara Mills New York University Associate Professor of Media, Culture and Communication. Mara’s post - on the continued importance of human transcribers - is fascinating and I encourage everyone to read it. Many thanks Mara! On Helen Keller’s birthday this year, archivist Helen Selsdon wrote a piece for the


Stevie Wonder Calls for Accessibility at Last Night’s Grammys—Bravo, Stevie!

I am still applauding Stevie Wonders call for accessibility at last nights Grammys; it was fabulous. First, he made everyone laugh when he teased the audience with a na na nana nayall cant read this huh? referring to the fact that the Song of the Year winner was written in braille. And then right before he announced Thinking Out Loud as Song of the Year, he said, We need to make


Valentine's Day Ideas for Friends and Family Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, there's still time to share the love with beautiful Helen Keller-themed gifts that help support the American Foundation for the Blind and its programs. Plus, all jewelry is on sale for a limited time. You can choose from a sterling silver


16 Braille Resources in Honor of World Braille Day 2016

"Braille is knowledge, and knowledge is power." - Louis Braille Louis Braille, the inventor of braille, was born two hundred and seven years ago on January 4, 1809. In his honor, we've gathered 16 braille resources in celebration of World Braille Day 2016! 1.What is braille, anyway? It’s not a language, but a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who are blind or who have low vision. Braille is a code by which many languagessuch as English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and dozens of othersmay be written and read.


Movie Magic: Helen Keller in Paris to Honor Louis Braille, 1952

Two hundred and seven years ago, on January 4th, 1809, Louis Braille was born in Coupvray, France. His invention of a system of raised dots representing letters, numbers and punctuation revolutionized the way blind people read and write and opened a wealth of knowledge to visually impaired audiences. In 1952, one hundred years after his death, Braille's body with the exception of his hands was removed from his home town to the Pantheon in Paris. Helen Keller was asked to give the speech on that occasion. AFB is thrilled to bring you this marvelous movie clip of that event. The clip includes her giving an address in French and accepting the French Legion of Honor for her work on behalf of those with vision


Tips for Teaching Reading from Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments

We asked, you answered. Here are a collection of teacher comments made on the AFB Press Facebook page in response to the question, "What is your best advice or success about teaching reading skills to children who are blind or visually impaired?" “When I first became a TVI [teacher of students with visual impairments] I had a group of teens who were not very motivated to read or write. This was many moons ago and they wanted computer games for


ALERT!—Historic Bill Breaks Down Braille Barriers for All!

BLINK Act on Fast Track for Congressional Action! In a surprise move early this morning, key leaders in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have reached bipartisan agreement on brand new landmark legislation requiring all sighted students across America to exclusively learn and use braille. The bill, entitled the Braille Literacy Is Necessary Knowledge (BLINK) Act, was only introduced late last evening in an attempt by the bill’s champions to thwart mobilized opposition by proponents of vision dependency. Under the BLINK Act, which somewhat radically makes trafficking in printed textbooks and inaccessible electronic instructional


10 Braille Resources From the American Foundation for the Blind in Honor of Louis Braille's Birthday

“O the delicious taste of independence that comes with an embossed book, and a Braille tablet!” - Helen Keller To celebrate World Braille Day 2015, marked annually on January 4th in honor of Louis Braille, the inventor of braille who was born on this day in 1809, we've gathered 10 braille resources and articles you'll want to bookmark and share. Happy World Braille Day! 1. AFB's online museum celebrating "200 Years: The Life and Legacy of Louis Braille" honored the Louis Braille Bicentennial by tracing his life through