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Fall 2000 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

National Braille Press Meeting the Growing Demand for Braille

Reprinted with permission from National Braille Press Website

To achieve full participation in the work place, family activities, and civic affairs, blind people need access to the printed word. For persons with total or profound loss of sight, braille is the only medium for true literacy. They cannot see large print, and although tape recorders and synthesized speech have tremendous benefits, they are no substitute for real reading. The tape recorder did not cause sighted people to abandon print, nor did the radio displace newspapers.

Braille also gives blind people more options in life. Recent studies have demonstrated the close correlation between early braille literacy and higher employment rates and income, and more time spent on reading in adulthood. For example, in a survey of adults age 18-55 who were blind since infancy, those who reported extensive use of braille had a far lower unemployment rate (33%) than did the group as a whole (58%).

As the benefits of braille literacy have become better understood, blind people, parents, and others have led a national movement to ensure that blind children have the opportunity to learn braille in public schools. Currently, twenty-nine states have passed braille literacy bills. This new legislation, advances in technology, and the spirit of accommodation inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act have escalated the demand for braille.

The Role of National Braille Press

Materials in braille used to fall into three categories: religious publications, leisure reading, and schoolbooks. National Braille Press was founded in 1927 to provide blind people with practical information to be responsible and productive citizens. Our books, often developed with blind people as authors or co-authors, are distinct for their subject matter, quality of braille, readability, and affordability.

Although books in braille are more expensive to produce than print, we adhere to a policy of charging prices no higher than those for comparable editions for sighted readers. Charitable gifts and grants make up the difference.

We also transcribe magazines, menus, guides, government documents, and other print items in a self-sustaining contract services program. Nearly half of our employees are blind and fill positions at all levels in our organization.

Programs

Children's Braille Literacy, our literacy program, instills readiness and motivation to read. We re-manufacture classics and contemporary picture-story books, donated by publishers, in alternating print and braille pages. These unique books enable parents and children, whether sighted or blind, to read together in the home. Through the catalog, which is available at http://www.nbp.org/, families can find interesting publications such as: Humpty Dumpty and Other Touching Rhymes, Just Enough To Know Better, and How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up.

We are also celebrating our tenth year having a children's braille book club! Each month, we offer a new print-braille title for ages preschool through third grade, and for the same price as the print book! Membership in the club is free, entitling you to receive monthly print or braille notices, which describe the book of that month. You can order it if you want, or not. There is no obligation to buy. Or, you can join the club and automatically receive a print-braille book each month for $100.00. Charge your membership today and start building a library for the whole family.

Computer Access

A variety of technical manuals, reference cards, and guides help blind people get started and keep abreast with software and Internet applications. These publications are particularly important for job readiness and performance.

Self-Help

Among our most popular materials are books for self-improvement and life-long learning. They include books and periodicals on employment and the job search, health and wellness, child care, consumer guides, handicrafts, current affairs and writing.

For more information about the National Braille Press, please call (800) 548-7323 or access the website at http://www.nbp.org/


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Last Revision: July 30, 2002