Fewer people learning braille in North America


VANCOUVER – Experts say fewer people with poor eyesight are learning to read braille in North America, partly because audio books and voice technology are supplanting the written word.

Jen Goulden, a past president of Braille Literacy Canada, says other factors have also had an impact on the use of braille in this country.

Statistics on the use of braille aren’t available from Canadian organizations, but Christopher Danielsen of the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind says its research suggests about 58 per cent of blind students in the United States were using braille in the early 1960s as their primary reading medium.

That has dropped to about 10 per cent today.

Goulden says it’s important to put the statistics for the decline in braille usage in context.

She says one of the problems is a lack of resources, including teachers.

However, she says visually impaired people have more access to braille than ever before because it’s possible to use braille with electronic tools.

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