Braille is dead. Long live braille.

If you’re one of the few blind people on this side of the border that still actually uses braille, you may be looking to learn the inner workings of a new standard. Until recently, Canada’s been relying on the rules of braille as published by the Braille Authority of North America for its teachings to folks growing up learning braille. I was one of those brought up on that system, back when I didn’t have much choice but have everything in braille. There are rumours–albeit unsubstantiated ones, according to my google ability–that we’ll be switching in the near to immediate future to the adopting of Unified English Braille.

What the hell does that mean for anyone who actually still reads braille? Good question. Beyond having to relearn what goes where and when according to a new standard, I’m not exactly sure. I’ve not exactly been keeping up with current braille-related politics–largely due to the fact I don’t generally give a damn. I haven’t really actively used braille since college, and even that was only barely. I’ll be quite surprised if I land myself in a job wherein braille usage is going to be necessary. So, to me, it doesn’t really translate to a whole lot of anything. But to folks who still on a daily basis make use of it, you might be going back to school to relearn how to read. Of course, the CNIB would probably be all over this as something really and truely awesome for blind people everywhere. And why not–they stand to make a kkilling off fund raising to teach the poor lost souls who supposedly depend on them to breathe how to use this new system. But, beyond what it does if anything for CNIB’s publicity, I’d bet my next paycheck on it not having much in the way of significant advantages for anyone else. That is, if I had a next paycheck to bet.

Congrats go out to the industry, though. They ran out of reasons to make blind people in general come off as approximately this far from educated, so they went out and invented one. Ladies and gentlemen, braille is dead. Long live braille.

5 comments
  1. My biggest Braille question is this, and it comes from an uneducated person, aka, me.

    Brailled on signs, I.E., washrooms/staff rooms/exits. Is it used often? I can’t say I’ve seen a fully-blind person touching their way down a hallway to read every sign.

    1. I can’t say I’ve ever found a use for it personally. Can’t say I’ve ever done what you described. My thing about it is, we’d still need to actually find the washroom or what have you–which, usually, means asking someone.

      One noteable exception I might consider is in situations in, for example, colleges where they’re starting to put braille numbers on doors to classrooms. But, even then you’re still escentially feeling your way to said classroom, and hoping you don’t have a hallway moron between you and the door. So in that case, well, I have to ask what the hell they’re thinking. but that’s just me.

      1. Yeah, classrooms would be more reasonable. I’m asking because at the hotel job I just got, braille is on EVERYTHING. Other than the individual rooms, who is going to be using it? Even down in the cramped corridors where maintenance and laundry are, the door signs are labelled with braille. They’re not safe places to be if you’re blind and unassisted. If someone were honestly feeling their way around to read the signs, they’d have a hell of a time not tripping over the random crap lining the hallway.

        1. You’d be surprised what we can avoid tripping on. Though you’re right for the most part. Also, if we ever had a reason to be going down there we’d probably have to ask someone exactly where said reason was anyway. Kinda like you would, if you’d not set foot there before.

          Granted, it’s about a hundred times easier to not trip over crap if you’re not insisting on feeling your way through everything. Partially why I don’t. That, plus it’s just generally faster.

    2. Just putting in my two cents here. I do have a li8ttle vision in my right ene, but even with that, I can’t tell which is the men’s bathroom and which is the women’s. so I will often find the braille sign just to make sure so as to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation, and that’s only once I find where the restrooms are. But as a rule, I don’t feel the wall looking for braille signs. I don’t know too many people who do. as far as class rooms, I used to be able to look for land marks so I never needed braille signs.

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