Grade One Braille: An alternative for some Blind People

For some blind people, Grade Two Braille has opened doors to better education, literature and employment. For others, Grade Two Braille has closed those doors. However, Grade One Braille can keep the doors open for many more people.
It is evident to insightful teachers of braille that the complexities of Grade Two constitute an additional educational handicap for some of their students.

Only a few of the people who should use braille do in fact use it. The latest estimate is less than 10%. Fewer people use it well. The main reason is the Grade Two Braille code itself. It is too complex and too complicated for some people.

Only a few of the blind students in school who should use braille do in fact use it. According to the last survey in America, less than 20%. Fewer use it well. The main reason is the Grade Two Braille code itself. For many students, there is neither the time nor the resources needed for them to learn such a complex and complicated code. Students with learning disabilities, do not possess the skills necessary for mastering all the shapes and rules. Because it can solve these problems, Grade One Braille is better for some students.

Then why do many people insist that everyone should use Grade Two Braille and that all books should be published in Grade Two Braille?

Why not teach Grade One Braille when appropriate? Why not give the people who want to use Grade One Braille the right to use it? Why not publish and distribute Grade One Braille books and materials? The first part of this chapter addresses these questions and offers a practical solution.

The first part of this chapter is divided into six parts

The first section, Braille History, Research and Literature, is a summary of some of the literature and research on braille problems.

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The second section briefly describes a research project, comparing the results of reading and writing Grade One Braille with the results of reading and writing Grade Two Braille.

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The third section attempts to explain learning disabilities and how they affect a person’s ability to use braille.

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The fourth section is a comparison of achievement scores when using Grade Two Braille with achievement scores after switching to Grade One Braille.

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The fifth section briefly describes another research project on the teaching of reading to beginning primary students. It compares a group of intelligent children who learned to read and write using Grade Two Braille from the start with a matched group who learned to read and write using Grade One Braille at the beginning and then later learned the contractions for Grade Two Braille and from then on used Grade Two for all their reading and writing their reading and writing.

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The last section contains a summary and conclusions.

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