Literacy for all-sighted and blind. It seems like a pretty simple concept. Yet despite the enormous proven advantages that literacy offers, families with blind children often have an uphill battle in ensuring that their child is taught to read and write.
Nothing substitutes for the ability to read. For blind people, braille is an essential tool in the process of becoming literate. Tape recorders and synthesized speech are useful tools, but they can't replace the ability to read and write.
To succeed in school, work and life, blind people need the opportunities that literacy provides. Research has shown a correlation between a blind person's learning of braille and lifetime achievement. One study shows that only 30% of blind people are employed, but of this group, 90% are braille readers.
In today's technology-driven world, is braille still relevant? Blind people have traditionally had many barriers to information and harnessing technology is critical in bridging this gap. E-Braille can help blind people surf the internet, text, e-mail, download books, and stay connected to the world as never before.
While paper braille will not disappear anytime soon, it is essential that NBP provide information faster and more efficiently, in a variety of formats, and with new technologies that allow blind people to keep pace with the sighted world.
More efficient braille production and the development of e-braille technologies is the cornerstone of NBP's new direction as we move forward to: