The significance of Braille Literacy Month

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January is the month we celebrate Braille Literacy Month in honor of Louis Braille, the creator of the braille code. According to pathtoliteracy.com, Braille was born on Jan. 4, 1809 and created the braille code almost 200 years ago.

The braille code, a system based in raised dots which the reader runs their fingers over, allows visually impaired people to read texts all over the world. Over the years, the system has helped millions of people with visual disabilities. However, with the rise of technology, like computers and touchscreens, people with visual impairments who use the braille code face various challenges.

In a world moving toward technological advancements, many researchers believe that those who rely on the braille code will have a hard time keeping up with the new technology. However, according to the American Foundation for the Blind, researchers have developed and are still developing various ways to adapt the braille code to a new way of reading, learning and getting information. One of the most useful solutions that almost every new technological device is equipped with is a computerized function that dictates speech. According to The New York Times, this new method has sparked debate over whether or not braille code would become a thing of the past. However, braille has evolved alongside technology. Many devices, such as smartphones and computers, can be customized with add-ons that add braille functionality to it.

In addition, according to the American Foundation of the Blind, the United States has made more of an effort to help the visually impaired in the last few years. BBC News reported that there have been new regulations for braille inclusion in medicine, packages, menus and products, including grocery items.

NSU has signage in braille in its elevators and room numbers on campus as well as resources for the visually impaired. NSU’s Student Disability Services works to accommodate students with disabilities to make their experience at NSU as smooth as possible.  This service is personalized for every student, and accommodations vary from braille books to braille keyboards.

“We work with the students to provide them reasonable accommodations either in the classroom setting or in the testing setting,” said Jennifer Wilson, director of the Student Disabilities Center, located on NSU’s Davie/Fort Lauderdale campus in the Rosenthal Student Building, suite 121.

According to the Student Disabilities Center, The Florida Council of the Blind announced that they will have four scholarship opportunities, totaling $4,000, offered to exemplary students who are enrolled in academic education, professional or technical training beyond the high school level who meet the requirements for each scholarship. For more information about the scholarship program and how to apply, contact Sheila Young at sheilayoung125@att.net or by phone at 407-425-9200.  

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