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While doing research for this post, I stumbled across a fact that I never would have guessed is true.
The majority of blind people in the U.S. Canada and the U.K. cannot read braille.
Statistically, less than 1% of British people and less than 10% of Americans and Canadians with sight impairments can read. (I couldn’t find the percentages for other countries. If you know any of them, please share!)
There are a few different reasons why this is true:
1) Braille is harder to learn as an adult,
2) there’s a social stigma to using it,
3) some kids who are blind or partially blind have other health problems like diabetes that can reduce sensation in their fingertips and make learning Braille difficult,
4) a lot of special education teachers are carrying heavy caseloads and may not have the time to teach much Braille, and
5) some schools prioritize auditory teaching methods to teaching braille or using large print books for students who have some sight.
Other sites said the rise of audiobooks and technology like text-to-speech apps that will read for you is making the use of Braille less necessary.
Isn’t this fascinating? I always assumed that the majority of people with a sight impairment would know Braille.