Six dots and I can read!

January 12, 2021 0 By Robin King

Six dots and I can read!

Louis Braille was 15 years old in 1842 when he created the writing system we call Braille.

When I started the “Locked with Purpose” blog, I thought my audience would only be professionals in the Vision Impairments field. I was wrong. I’ve had some interesting questions. So I would like to introduce you to Braille.

Braille is a system of 6 raised dots. Did you know that you can write sixty-three different braille characters using these six dots?  These dots are used for the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and punctuation.  The NLS Transcribing Certification starts with introducing learners to these combinations of dots.  The lessons quickly develop to more complex combinations of dots to create contractions and short-form words, which are used in transcribing print into Grade 2 Braille.  Contractions and Short-form words are combinations of one or two braille characters that are used to represent common words. For example:

Unified English Braille (UEB) was adopted by the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) in 2016. All of the English speaking countries are now using one braille system. Those countries include South Africa, Nigeria, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the USA.

Why Braille? We live in a world where technology abounds. You may even wonder why read a book when you can listen to an audiobook. The answer is simple: Literacy. The ability to read and write. These skills allow individuals the opportunity for intellectual freedom, equal opportunities, and independence at home and work.

The Department of Corrections is partnering with me to support literacy for students who are Visually Impaired/Blind. Angola Braille Prison Program is training our future transcribers. With each lesson completed, they are one step closer to receiving their certification. They are driven by the knowledge that they can and will make a difference for a student. They have a purpose. 

“More than at any other time, when I hold a beloved book in my hand my limitations fall from me, my spirit is free.”

 Helen Keller