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.