Re: Braille, how many use it?

erik burggraaf <erik@...>

Hi Gene,

As a child, my experience was similar to yours.  I found braille slow and uncomfortable.  I was a one handed braille reader which slowed me down further.

As an adult, I'm very greatful for my braille skills such as they are, and refreshable braille I find much more comfortable than paper braille. 

The evidence to support the use of braille as a direct visual medium for the blind has been dresearched, ocumented, and pretty well quantified.  We can always do more to understand the brain, but numerous studies measuring cortexes of blind people in verious situations overwelmingly shows that the visual cortex of people who are blind of all ages and regardless of whether they began sighted or blind  reacts to braille in the same way that that of a sighted person does to print.

The scholarly articles on this abound, but they don't make for great reading unless you're a nuroscientist.  Start with this overview.

It's a science article for kids, but it's professionally written, won't insult your inteligence, and makes for more interesting reading than articles from medical and scientific journals.  A lot of the scholarly writings came up for me in a search of "braille visual cortex".  Of course, most of the older ones are at the top, probably because they are sited more often.  Even the abstracts are a snore, but they are all pretty clear that braille has a direct impact on nural vision centres.



On October 3, 2017 12:25:17 PM "Gene" <gsasner@...> wrote:

It is a good idea for people who are blinded as adults to learn enough Braille, grade one, to be specific, to label things and organize things.  Children should learn Braille just as sighted children learn print.  But I am unconvinced that the argument that Braille is just like print in terms of everyone who is blind learning it.  That is not a proper analogy. 
For one thing, and I haven't seen any research on this but, despite what Braille proponents say, I remain unconvinced that Braille is nearly as good a medium as speech for many blind people in terms of ongoing general use.  I was always annoyingly slow at reading Braille.  Even in my early adult years, I learned Braille as a child, and in my early adult years, I would read about 300 Braille pages a month, I never got faster than about between 180 and 200 words a minute.  Considering that I can listen to speech at between 350 and 400 words a minute with good comprehension, the contrast in efficiency is obvious.  And why didn't my speed increase over time, reading as much Braille as I did for about ten years?  Why do so many blind people I hear read Braille read only about as fast as they speak, resulting in pauses and stumbling over words as they read? 
Some people can read Braille very quickly.  My observations and experience cause me to be skeptical that most blind people read faster than about 180 or 200 words per minute. I'm talking about people who learn to read Braille as children at the age sighted children learn to read print.  
And reading Braille was always more work and more tiring and fatiguing for me than listening to speech, a lot more so.  Yet I have been innundated with the you should read Braille and with the implied message that if I don't, I am somehow using an inferior medium.  If that's true, then let's get substantive information, real studies of some sort showing that I am wrong in my observations.
I said earlier that blind children should learn Braille and they should.  They should use it in school, at least in grammar school so they learn proper spelling, punctuation, and learn to distinguish between words that sound similar or alike and mean different things and are spelled differently.  How many times have I seen blind people write wander instead of wonder?  Just one example. 
And obviously, Braille is of vital importance in technical fields.  But the general assumption that Braille is better for blind people as an unqualified generalization for daily and general use, has not been demonstrated to be correct in my observations and experience.  
We are blind and, like it or not, being blind means that the analogical equivalent to something sighted people do, Braille to print, is not necessarily better or as good as a specifically blind oriented solution for many uses. 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 9:06 AM
Subject: Re: [nvda] Braille, how many use it?

I don't see anyone saying that we should give up braille for technology.
That seemed to happen naturally in my case because I had no need to read it,
so I never did. Only recently when trying to play a game I realised just how
screwed my braille skills actually are.
In fact, I totally agree that braille would be better in some areas of work,
programming and large calculations being two such areas. On the other hand,
try asking for a disability/assistive technology grant over here and see if
you can break the record for the longest fight and largest number of
letdowns... I've just about given up hope on both the government and the
RNIB. Bleh.
-----Original Message-----
From: Nevzat Adil
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 2:29 PM
Subject: Re: [nvda] Braille, how many use it?

Braille is as important to a blind person as print is to someone who
can see. I do not see any sighted person saying they should give up
print because of technology. I am glad NVDA developers are working on
making it braille friendly. The fact that braille displays are too
expensive should not discourage learning braille as prices are bound
to come down and many get those devices the government or private
programs, anyway.

On 10/3/17, Robert Mendoza <lowvisiontek@...> wrote:
> Lucky of those who has a braille display, cause here it is very
> expensive and you need to buy it online or rather to pre-order to the
> selected store. So I simply used the ordinary keyboard.
> Robert Mendoza
> On 10/3/2017 5:41 AM, Adriani Botez wrote:
>> In Germany they are also bein paid by ministery of labor or by the health
>> insurance company. And very often is being individually judged if the
>> person
>> gets the device paid or not. It depends on the time period since last
>> payment or on how well tested is the technical features of the device.
>> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>> Von: [] Im Auftrag von
>> Mallard
>> Gesendet: Dienstag, 3. Oktober 2017 14:35
>> An:
>> Betreff: Re: [nvda] Braille, how many use it?
>> I agree. Luckily, the National Health Service here in Italy gives us
>> braille
>> displays, either totally paid by the National Health Service itself, or
>> partly - depending on the cost of the device.
>> I used an Optacon before the advent of braille displays, and still do,
>> but
>> on paper and ereaders; no longer on a pc screen, due to uncomfortable
>> position of my workstation.
>> I couldn't live without braille! I switched to NVDA only once braille
>> support was introduced.
>> Ciao,
>> Ollie
>> Il 03/10/2017 13:41, Brian's Mail list account via Groups.Io ha scritto:
>>> Tis is just a question. I see a lot of work going on on the
>>> development front to make these displays and the entering of the code
>>> more intuitive and better.
>>> I just wondered how many folk here can afford to use a Braille display
>>> on their machines? Since the promised Orbit seems to be having issues
>>> getting out  of the factory, most of the other choices out there need
>>> a second mortgage to buy them!
>>> Just musing that was all.
>>> Brian
>>> bglists@...
>>> Sent via blueyonder.
>>> Please address personal email to:-
>>> briang1@..., putting 'Brian Gaff'
>>> in the display name field.


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