Friday, January 06, 2006

Louis Braille Banner

This week is the anniversary of the birth and death of Louis Braille - who was born on the 4th January 1809 and died 6th January 1852.

He was born in the town of Coupvray in France and apparently was sighted until the age of three, when an accident with one of his father's tools destroyed his sight.

He won a scholarship to a special school for the blind, the Institution Royale des Jeunes Aveugles in Paris and eventually became a teacher there.

Valentin Haüy the founder of the school had invented a method of teaching blind children to read using a system of raised letters. However, there was no method for using this as a means of teaching writing.

When an ex-soldier called Charles Barbier lectured at the school and demonstrated a method of using twelve dots as a code method [night writing] which could be read without light, Louis Braille was inspired to create his own system using six raised dots.
One major advantage was the abilty to use this system tfor writing as well as reading.

The first book in braille was published in 1827 although braille was never taught at the school for the blind while he taught there.

Louis Braille died at the age of 43, suffering from tuberculosis , but his legacy has been immense as his braille system is now used for written communication for visually impaired and blind people in most of the world's languages.

The braille text on the illustration says- 'Louis Braille born in Coupvray' and was embossed over a braille font called Braille 3-d. There are links to braille and ASL fonts here

A wonderful source of children's books in braille or picture books which can be brailled using a transparent braille tape is Seedlings

[I have bought a specially brailled picture book from this company and was very impressed with their service.]

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