Friday, October 24, 2008
Reading (Braille) Is Fundamental!
Some well meaning advocates for the disabled recently informed me that seeing-impaired persons really don't need to read braille books since they can just listen to them on audiocassette and/or compact disc. They meant well, but, as I'm looking into getting some braille books (novels & non-fiction)for the collection, I don't agree. And neither does William M. Raeder, former president of the National Braille Press :
Braille is the only means by which blind people can truly read the written language. It is certainly true that for easy reading materials such as novels, audio intake using the recorded human voice, or the electronically synthesized mimicking of the human voice, is not only satisfactory but sometimes preferred by blind people, just as it is by sighted people. By the same token, just as sighted people have by no means given up the written language in favor of audio only, so blind people should not be expected to give up their written language.
You can read Mr. Raeder's compelling arguement (which can also be cited for recommending reading to sighted people) further here . The NBR makes a good case too.
(A student using Braille.)
Related links: How Useful is Braille? ; Why Is Braille Important?