Services for Students with Visual Impairments include (but are not limited to) abacus, adaptive devices, Braille, career readiness, daily living/self-help skills, large print, listening skills, low vision efficiency training, optical devices, orientation and mobility (safe and independent travel skills), self-advocacy, social skills, and typing/keyboard skills.
Visual Impairment Resources
- American Council for the Blind (ACB)
- American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
- Educational Service Center Region 11 (ESC11)
- National Federation for the Blind (NFB)
- National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI)
- State Leadership Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SLSBVI)
- Texas Education Agency (TEA)
- Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Camp Abilities Texas (CAT)
Blind at the age of 3, he accidentally stabbed himself in one eye with a tool from his father's workshop. After an infection set in and spread to the other eye, he lost both, and was completely blind. At the age of 10, Braille earned a scholarship to the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. He was served stale bread and water. Other students were sometimes abused or locked up as a form of punishment. At the school, children were taught basic craftsman skills and simple trades. They were taught how to read through a raised letter system. The students were able to read feeling these raised letters with their fingertips. The raised letters were made using paper pressed against copper wire. The letters weighed a lot. Many students never learned to write. Whenever people published books using this system, the book was published with multiple stories in one binding. The books often weighed well over a hundred pounds. The school Braille attended only had 14 books. Louis read every book.
In 1821, Captain Barbier in the French Army, visited the school to show the children his invention, called "Night writing." This writing was a set code of 12 raised dots and a number of dashes. The code allowed soldiers to share top-secret information on the battlefield without having to speak. The code was too difficult for Louis to understand, and he later changed the number of raised dots to 6 to form what we today call Braille. The six-dot system allowed the recognition of letters with a single fingertip apprehending all the dots at once, requiring no movement or repositioning which slowed recognition in systems requiring more dots. The most notable aspect of the six-dot system was the ability to both read and write an alphabet. Braille later extended his system to include notation for mathematics and music.
Braille, a bright and creative student, became a talented cellist and organist in his time at the school. He played the organ in churches all over France. Braille became a well-respected teacher at the Institute. He died in Paris of tuberculosis in 1852 at the age of 43. Although he was admired and respected by his pupils, his braille system was not taught at the Institute during his lifetime. His system was finally, officially recognized in France two years after his death, in 1854.
More | Freedman, R. (1997). Out of Darkness. The story of Louis Braille. Clarion Books, New York.