Braille Literacy Feature

East Texas professional explains how technology has changed braille reading

Brittney Walters, the assistant technology instructor at the center, is a Braille reader herself and learned it in the first grade when she began to lose most of her sight. “I started learning braille in the first grade with the alphabet, moving up to contracted braille, then in college learning computer braille, and it’s really helpful,” Walters said.

Every Braille reader begins learning on the Perkins Braille Writer, which looks like an old-fashioned typewriter. Then, they move to a Braille and talk device that speaks back to them.

As technology has advanced, there are now Braille displays that hook up to computers to help with typing documents and even braille note takers that act as computers themselves.

“For a kiddo that is now in the public systems that are handing the kids Chromebooks, there is a braille device that is essentially a Chromebook, so anything that their sighted peers can do on a Chromebook, that blind child can do on their braille notetaker,” Walters said.

Aragon says acknowledging and celebrating the month helps create more access for Braille readers in East Texas.

“In our community, the more access we can give to people the better the community becomes, “Aragon said.

Studies show those who are Braille literate are employed at a greater rate and earn an average of $11,000 more per year than their non-Braille-reading peers.

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