Why Is Braille Transcription Important?
According to the journal "Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science," in 2020, 49.1 million individuals globally are blind and 33.6 million experience severe visual difficulties . The National Federation of the Blind reports that almost 7.7 million people in the U.S. population experience blindness or low-vision .
In the U.S.A., the unemployment rate for non-institutionalized individuals between 21 and 64 years of age who are blind is over 70%. However, braille readers experience a much lower unemployment rate of 44% and report more active participation in their communities . Thus, there is substantial evidence that braille provides a person who is blind or low-vision with skills and opportunities that help them live lives more similar to sighted counterparts than possible for those who do not read braille. This is in part because braille enables an individual to actively study content in detail. This is absolutely essential in mathematics, science, and technology subjects, as it is in even reading the news! It also allows an individual to read at their own pace and to go back and review passages more easily -- all of these are things that print readers do without even thinking, but that can't be done easily using text-to-speech systems.
At Handid, we know rocket scientists, chemists, mathematicians, engineers, and successful and engaged individuals across society who are blind and all of them are very clear that braille is an absolute necessity for their success.
In addition, the "Americans with Disabilities Act" (ADA) provides a legal requirement for certain materials to be produced in braille. These materials include way-finding signage in certain types of buildings, elevator control panels, essential documents, and more. Schools are required to provide braille when it is the "least restrictive" medium for learning.
Altogether, braille is an essential medium that allows an individual to read all manner of things, including everyday documents like bank statements, insurance forms, medical prescription information, as well as content in guides to State and National Parks (did you know that the U.S. Government provides brochures in braille for all National Parks?), books, magazines, and more!
The National Federation of the Blind also promotes that braille helps individuals to live the lives they want!