Eleven Facts about Braille, Number 9 Makes Indonesia Proud

Eleven Facts about Braille, Number 9 Makes Indonesia Proud
Writer :
Iin Saputri
Editor :
David Myoga
Translator :
Karlina Irsalyana

So far, the general public may only know that people with visual sensory disabilities access literacy using Braille. However, there are interesting things about braille that are not widely known. Here are eleven interesting facts about braille that may be rarely exposed.

1. The Braille literacy system was developed by Louis Braille in the 1820s when he was a student at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris. Before the revolutionary code was developed, which were used to help the blind to read were various systems, most of which used embossed typeface. For example, Valentin Haüy's tactile book features an embossed version of the Roman alphabet. Louis Braille's invention code was designed for tactile rather than visual recognition and eventually allowed the visually impaired to write independently.

2. Braille is not a language. It is a tactile or embossed code that allows the blind or visually impaired to read and write by touch, with various combinations of dots representing the alphabet, words, punctuation marks, and numbers.

3. The braille code in each language can be different for each aspect. For example, the = sign in Indonesian is different from the = sign in English. In its simplest form, one letter is represented by a symbol, but the Braille writing system recognizes what is called short writing (tusing) or at the international level called contracted braille, where in this system, one letter or symbol represents one word.

4. Braille writing takes up more space on the page than a regular writing system. Therefore, tusing or contracted braille will be very useful to save space and write faster.

5. Braille is not only used for copying and writing books or publications. In many countries, especially developed countries, it is also used on signage in public spaces, such as the numbers on elevators, doors, and restaurant menus, as well as for labeling everyday items such as medicines and billing cards.

6. Currently, electronic braille note takers and braille displays allow visually disabled people who know braille to surf the internet and read web pages and e-mails, as well as save and edit their written work without a screen reader.

7. Some very popular classic games have adapted braille versions, such as Monopoly, Scrabble, and Uno. Braille playing cards are also available allowing visually disabled persons to enjoy this game even playing with friends and family. LEGO has made LEGO Braille Bricks a fun way to teach braille.

8. Practicing reading and writing braille regularly can help increase reading speed. Just like mastering reading and writing in plain print, regular study and practice are required for learning braille.

9. Indonesia has had a magazine in braille format since 1959 which was named Gema Braille. So far, Gema Braille is the only magazine in braille format in Indonesia, produced by the Ministry of Social Affairs through the Indonesian Braille Literacy Center (BLBI) "Abiyoso".

10. Learning Braille takes a lot of time. This is related to various combinations of dots and the need for a person to get used to his fingertips identifying points.

11. Not all blind people use braille. The need to develop fingertip sensitivity and the presence of certain health conditions that affect finger sensitivity make learning braille as an adult more difficult.

As an adult, choosing to learn and use braille depends on individual preferences. For example, a person who lost sight as an adult may prefer to stick with digital assistive technology with a screen reader, video magnifier, or recorder software.

However, there is a significant literacy benefit from mastering braille, which can provide users with greater freedom and independence. A person who is deaf-blind, for example, will of course need braille as a means of literacy and communication because they cannot access audio.

Happy Braille Day January 4th, “master braille, cultivate literacy among the persons with visual sensory disabilities”.
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