WBU-AP(Junior Group) Excellent Work
Is Braille Still Relevant in the Age of Technology?
Australia Vanessa Vlajkovic (18, Female )

Think for a second, about banning sign language from Deaf people, or taking a wheelchair from a person who can't walk. These people would be almost helpless, wouldn't they?
Somebody's means of transport, or their communication, are precious parts of their lives that should not be meddled with. Braille in itself is a language, and one that many Blind or visually impaired individuals rely on in their daily lives. In more ways than one, Braille has a significant impact on its users, the reasons for which I am going to discuss below.
First and foremost, if someone has an additional disability, (example, hearing loss), it makes access to certain things more difficult. Voice applications would obviously not be of any assistance to you. This is the point where we turn to the Braille-Note, a terrific device created by HumanWare. Just by simply connecting the Braille-Note to an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you are magically transferred into the world of freedom. From Facebook to email, to texting and reading books online, there is absolutely nothing you are limited to. I am talking from experience too, because my life was wholly changed when I was introduced to this incredible method of independence. No more asking mummy and daddy to help, I could do it by myself.
Being able to use any form of social media is critical to a teenager's well-being. The majority of teens will tell you that checking their Facebook accounts on a regular basis goes a long way towards making them feel entertained and relaxed. However, without the presence of modern technology, this cannot be achieved. Hence why Braille is so important - it provides us Blind folks with a sense of empowerment and equality that we otherwise would not have. Therefore it is essential that awareness of Braille is raised throughout the world, in order to ensure everybody is adequately informed of the advantages this language possesses. Apart from social media, those who are taught to read and write Braille have increased chances of being accepted in to a variety of learning institutes, thereby having less trouble finding employment. Promoting Braille literacy also benefits the Blind community in that it gives the impression to sighted people that we are far more capable than we mightappear. Louis Braille is to be thanked for this, without him, where would we be today? I myself have an endless supply of gratitude and love for this boy who has left such a huge mark on me and on my fellow Blindies.
Having summarised my main points, I'd like briefly to mention a positive aspect of my life regarding Braille. When I began to learn, at the very young age of 4, I was merely equipped with the Perkins Brailler. Not only is this machine big, loud, and slow, but it also wasn't computerised, meaning if mistakes were made they couldn't be erased. Oh boy that was a frustrating time for me. Luckily, because my Braille skills were quite good, I was given my first Braille-Note in year 2. It was a delight to behold, the smaller, noiseless, intelligent-looking piece of equipment I now had the privilege to own. Furthermore, HumanWare has recently released the latest version of the Braille-Note, namely the Apex. This one is even lighter, and its features much improved. So we have actually jumped from the Perkins to the Apex in less than 10 years. What a fabulous era we live in.
Using my story as evidence, I think it's quite clear, (at least to me), why Braille is relevant in the age of technology. As newer and better types of Braille-related apparatus are discovered, and invented each year, more doors are being opened to those with low vision or who're Blind. In other words, I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that Braille is truly a unique demonstration of how specific groups of humans in our universe collaborate to fight for their rights. Braille menus in every cafe, yes please! It will happen in the future, I assure you. We just must advocate for what we want/need, and eventually it will come to light.


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