"The greatest tragedy in life is people who have sight, but no vision."
Visual Impairments can mean a number of things. If you are visually impaired it doesn't necessarily mean you are blind, it could mean you are blind or have impaired vision. A person who is totally blind can not see light or anything else. Some people use different things to help with their visual impairments by using adaptions such as glasses, Braille, seeing eye dogs, canes, and adaptive computer technology.
There are many devices such as screen readers, computers and many other inventions that were made and still being made to help people that are visually impaired. There are many inventions for computers that make other technological devices then usable to the Visually Impaired - and can change their lives forever.
Louis Braille of Coupvray, France invented Braille. While he was at school Braille wanted to read but could not always have someone to read to him. So he invented a reading technique for blind people, which was a modification of "Ecriture Nocturne," a code made for the military by Charles Barbier for soldiers to read at night when there was no light.
Braille is a system of raised dots that a blind person can read with their fingertips. There are two grades of Braille; grade one and two. Grade one is a little bit harder but will teach the person the basic letters and short words. Grade two is a combination of letters that forms a word. For example, the word "Him", is HM. This allows the person to read the Braille faster.
There are many machines that coordinate with the use of Braille, such as the Braille typewriter, a machine that reads the text and prints it out in Braille, and there are many libraries that now carry Braille books. There is also Braille printers that allow computer files to be transformed into Braille, even graphics.
Since Braille was invented it has come a long way and is now helping visually impaired people have greater access to the non-visually impaired world around them.
To learn the Braille Alphabet click on the link below and open your mind.
The Braille Alphabet
Seeing Eye Dogs And Canes
Seeing Eye dogs and canes are used more for helping people get around from place to place. A Seeing Eye dog is specially trained to help a visually impaired or blind person get back and forth from work, school, or even to the neighbor's house. The dogs go to a special school where they learn to obey traffic lights, veer the person out of the way of poles, and help him/her down steps. They wear a harness and the owner holds on to it and tells the dog where to go. Many people like seeing eye dogs for their ability to get the person where there going pretty fast. Then again, some people dislike them because if the person wants to go somewhere new, the dog might not know how to get there. Seeing Eye dogs help people get where they're going though they are not for everyone.
Canes are like Seeing Eye dogs, in that they are mobility oriented but the person uses it by swinging it back and forth to tell if objects are close by. The cane is one of the earliest forms of getting around for a blind person and still is widely used today. Over the years we will have new technologies for blind people but I still feel that the cane will remain one of the leading forms of transportation for Visually Impaired people.
Braille, American Federation of the Blind, Retrieved: June 28, 1997 from the World Wide Web. http://www.igc.apc.org/afb/brail_ed.html
Schlagel, D.B (1997)Braille Gifs,[Internet].
Available: http://disserv3.stu.umn.edu/ALTFORM/ [1997, July 11].
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