5 Interesting Facts About Louis Braille

5 Interesting Facts About Louis Braille


Braille Literacy Awareness Month occurs every January, honoring the inventor of the original Braille Code. Louis Braille developed this system at the age of 15 and is used to help people with visual impairments to still take advantage of the educational and entertainment opportunities which this code can provide. Braille is not a language. It is instead a representation of a person’s native language and is not exclusive to English.

1. Published At Age 20

In just 5 years, Louis Braille was able to publish his first complete book about the Braille system after its development. His system could be used for more than just writing words. It could also be used to write music. This book became an asset for many schools with visually impaired students from the moment they opened up the cover the first time in 1829.

2. 25 Years To Accept

The Missouri School for the Blind would become the first US educational institution to accept Louis Braille’s system of reading, but this didn’t happen until 1854. Many teachers balked at the idea of trying to learn the Braille Code as a teaching method and this stubbornness led to a 25 year delay in the teaching method being used. Even when the system was accepted, many teachers still protested the idea.

3. 3 Different Levels

Because Braille is a system which requires ongoing learning, it has been broken into three different grades of coding to make it easier to learn. Basic letters and punctuation correspond with the first grade of the code. The second grade is what is usually found in public today and includes contractions. The final grade is similar to language fluency and includes shorthand methods for personal use.

4. Not Just the Hands

Louis Braille may have created his system to be used with the fingers, but today his code has been adopted for people who can only move their feet. This allows even more people with disabilities the opportunity to read and learn.

5. Still Not Available

There are nearly 60,000 children in the US right now who are diagnosed as being legally blind. 1 out of every 3 of them is considered a non-reader. Only 9% of them have access to Braille resources and use them regularly.

Louis Braille created a system which has had a lasting influence on those with visual difficulties. A tragic childhood accident may have robbed him of his sight, but it would also be the inspiration to help hundreds of thousands of people continue learning in the future.