Monday, January 5, 2009
Happy Belated Birthday, Louis!
Happy birthday, Louis Braille! The 200th anniversary of Louis Braille’s birth on January 4, 1809, is being celebrated this year, and to blind people around the world, it is indeed cause for celebration.
Louis Braille became blind at the age of 3, when he accidentally stabbed himself in one eye with an awl, one of his father's workshop tools and got an infection. His other eye went blind from the infection spreading to it. But that was not enough to stop the remarkable young man from inventing a system of reading that would change the world.
In 1821, a Captain in the French Army, visited the school that Louis Braille attended to show the children his invention, called "Night writing." It was a code of 12 raised dots and a number of dashes that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield without having to speak. The code was too difficult for Louis to understand, and he later changed the number of raised dots to 6 to form what we today call Braille.
Today, thanks to the ingenious invention of Louis Braille, blind children and adults throughout the world can read and write as well as their sighted counterparts. Please join me in also celebrating the braille code, named after its young inventor, and the expanded possibilities for literacy, independence, and self-expression Louis Braille opened up to blind people everywhere.
Want to see you name in Braille? Check here...