Braille is important for everyday communication and to improve your independence. Often, people think Braille is no longer needed because of the technology that is available today to read books, papers and other documents; but there are settings where technology cannot replace Braille. Early Braille education is crucial to literacy for a visually impaired child. A study conducted in the state of Washington found that people who learned Braille at an early age did just as well as, if not better than, their sighted peers in several areas, including vocabulary and comprehension. In the preliminary adult study, while evaluating the correlation between adult literacy skills and employment, it was found that 44 percent of the participants who had learned to read in Braille were unemployed, compared to the 77 percent unemployment rate of those who had learned to read using print.
Currently, among the estimated 85,000 blind adults in the United States, 90 percent of those who are Braille literate are employed. Among adults who do not know Braille, only 1 in 3 is employed. Statistically, history has proven that Braille reading proficiency provides an essential skill set that allows visually impaired children not only to compete with their sighted peers in a school environment, but also later in life as they enter the workforce.
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Organizations working with people who are blind unanimously agree that Braille literacy has reached an all-time low throughout the entire nation. It has long been proven that the most successfully employed people who have lost their sight read and write Braille fluently. In recognition of the alarming growth in the numbers of people who are blind and who cannot read Braille, the UCB is seeking ways to promote Braille literacy among people who have experienced sight loss. Members of the organization serve on committees formed to encourage Braille literacy.
If you are a member of the UCB, an older adult who is 55 or older, or a client from Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, you may qualify for Braille instruction at UCB. New Unified English Braille, which is now the standard Braille as of January 2016, will be taught at UCB.
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