“As you notice braille on bathroom signage, ATM’s, elevators and such, consider how much you rely on print in your every day lives, and be assured that I, and others who cannot see to read print, are grateful to have its equivalent, braille, allowing us to read books, phone numbers, recipes, menus, directions and the like, and literally having it at our fingertips.”
–Cindy Van Winkle
President, Washington Council of the Blind (WCB)
January is National Braille Literacy Month in honor of Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4, 1809. Here is a brief sketch of his inspiring life and work.
Louis Braille was born January 4, 1809, in Coupvray, France. An injury to his eye at age three resulted in total loss of vision. When he was ten, he entered the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, the world’s first school for blind children. There he would live, study, and later teach.
When Louis was fifteen, he developed an ingenious system of reading and writing by means of raised dots. Two years later he adapted his method to musical notation.
Mr. Braille accepted a full-time teaching position at the Institute when he was nineteen. He was a kind, compassionate teacher and an accomplished musician. He gave his life in selfless service to his pupils, to his friends, and to the perfection of his raised dot method, which is known today as Braille.
Louis Braille died at age forty-three, confident that his mission on earth was completed.