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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Why do You Need Braille? Let’s Count the Ways!

January 4, 2016 | 2 Comments

by Tony Colon, Second Sense braille tutor


Tony leads Shawn, Tim, David and Kathy in a braille lessonAs never before, advances in technology have made it possible for the visually impaired and blind to take advantage of such items as computers, iPhones and the like. You can accomplish so many tasks without the assistance of a sighted person. It is without a doubt, a great time to be alive.

So, when I bring up the subject of braille, you may ask, “With all the great technology available, why would I need braille?”  Well, instead of asking why would you possibly need to learn braille, I think the question should be, “How can learning braille benefit me in my endeavors to achieve independence?”

Technology in Our Daily Lives

Let us first consider the ways in which we conduct our daily lives. We have talking clocks to tell us the date and time.  You can access a CCTV and enlarge documents and comfortably read them.  You can use the Victor Stream to take down messages and read the daily news or your favorite book.  The list goes on.   By all means, we should take advantage of every piece of technology available to us.

Drawbacks of Technology

Of course, the cost of purchasing such technology dictates if we can completely take advantage of such items. As an example, the iPhone can do so many things for us with VoiceOver or an enlarged screen, but not all can afford to own an iPhone and the cost of the carrier services.  Another thing all of these have in common is the fact that they are dependent on either battery power or electricity or both. And what about the need for Internet services required to fully benefit from all the options available on these items?

What About Braille?

This brings me back to braille and how you can benefit from it. Let us begin with cost. A slate and stylus cost about $10.00. It requires no batteries or plugs. It is operated by you and your brain power. So, can you afford it? I would say yes!

What can you do with basic braille? First let me explain what basic braille is. Basic braille is learning the American alphabet, numbers and primary punctuation. What can you do with this? Well let me list just a few of the things you can do.

  • You can label your spices.
  • You can label your CDs and DVDs.
  • You can keep a list of phone numbers which you can’t memorize.
  • You can label food items, both in the fridge or freezer.
  • You can label your cabinet shelves or your individual grocery items so that you can readily find what you need without the guess work.
  • You can label your appliances.
  • You can label your clothes.
  • You can find your way around the elevator panel that makes you nervous.


Well, you get the point. And remember, once you have learned basic braille, you need no light or sighted assistance to accomplish these tasks.

And of course, no need to fear a power-outage, brain freeze, maybe, but no power-outage!

I am sure you can identify many other situations where braille can be of benefit to you. You owe it to yourself to add this inexpensive piece of technology to your ever-growing cache of items to make your life more interesting and fulfilling.  If I haven’t peaked your interest yet, consider the fact that of the 30 percent of visually impaired and blind individuals gainfully employed, the majority of them know some form of braille.

Tony has been tutoring our beginning braille students at Second Sense for two years and oversees our braille study group.  He learned the basics in our Beginning Braille class, worked  independently at home and then completed Hadley School for the Blind‘s Braille Literacy 4 course.

2 comments on “Why do You Need Braille? Let’s Count the Ways!”

  1. Anthony Colon says:

    Great blog post!

  2. Nancy velazquez says:

    Grat article Look forward to reading more interesting facts . I myself look for new and improved ways to help myself see better thanks

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