The Dotted Debate

By Brandon Smith

image of Brandon Smith walking with his cane

With audiobooks, smart phones, and the ease of access of information via the internet, do we still need to know braille? Some argue the need to learn braille is not as important since audio surrounds us, but I disagree.

One of the perks of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is that braille is also all around us. Braille signs can be found in many buildings. These signs accomplish everything from keeping us from entering the wrong restroom, to making sure we get to the correct floor on an elevator. I have not, as of yet, come into contact with auditory signs. Those probably are not too far in the future, but as of now, braille is still king.

On occasion a restaurant will have braille menus. Yes, you can hop online and read the menu if you are technically inclined. But sometimes it is just easier to sit down at your table and flip through the menu like your sighted peers. Plus, not everyone is tech savvy to allow them to access a menu via the internet.

There are still situations where braille rules the day, such as labeling, taking and reading notes, reading manuals and directories, etc. Again, an option for audio is available for this, too. However, in many cases it comes down to what is more convenient at the time. In these situations, sometimes what is most convenient is to grab a book or manual and start reading.

Braille is still a very necessary part of life for a blind person. It is no less important than the knowledge of handwriting is to the sighted.

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