World Braille Awareness Day
People across the world celebrate January 4th as Braille Awareness Day in honor of the birth of its inventor, Louis Braille. Born on January 4th, 1809 near Paris, France, he lost his vision at age five due to an infection. Braille would go on to attend France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth, one of the first specialty schools for blind students in the world. While there he began to develop the system of tactile code that would eventually become braille, which remains relatively unchanged to this day. As an adult, Louis Braille worked as a teacher at the Institute and would continue to work to refine his system until his death in 1852. Although braille was not widely adopted until many years after his death, today it is recognized as a critical tool for increasing literacy, education, and employment for people who are blind.
From Governor Greg Abbott’s proclamation, “World Braille Awareness Day serves as a reminder for all of us about the importance of accommodating the needs of everyone in our community, because, in doing so, we can ensure that our great state will continue to be the best place to live, work, and raise a family for all Texans.”
Since its creation by Louis Braille nearly two hundred years ago, braille has offered new levels of accessibility and independence for people across the globe who are blind or visually impaired. According to Diane Yoder, Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center Director, “Braille is a game-changer. It is a major contributor to making a significant difference in the lives of people who are blind. Research shows that people who are blind and use braille are more likely to be employed and live independently. Braille is essential for literacy and the training and resources for braille have evolved tremendously since its inception. Blind Texans wishing to go to work or older blind Texans wanting more independence can obtain resources for learning braille and so much more by contacting Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services at 1 (800) 628-5115 press option 3.”