Braille Devices/ Supports
Typically, when learning to write in braille, children begin using a braille writing device that has six keys with a space bar in the middle. The six keys make up the six dots that comprise a full braille cell. Braille letters and word contractions are made up of a combination of one to six of these dots. The following are examples of stand alone devices that those starting out with braille likely use. It is noted that the Kentucky School for the Blind Charitable Foundation (www.ksbcf.org) has a loan library and checks out Perkins Braille Writers to students who are learning to read and write in braille.
Students who read and write in braille typically progress to using electronic braille devices (refreshable braille displays). These devices can be either a stand-alone display, notetaker, or smart display. A smart refreshable device has many functions including notetaker, display for other materials, ability to access calendar, mail etc. These devices are typically connected through Bluetooth to other devices such as a PC, Mac, or tablet. Below are examples.
There are many tools that support braille instruction. Below are examples of braille supports for young children. The Braille Buzz reinforces phonics and braille letters. The Taptilo is a device with large keys and a large display that provides lessons in braille along with customization. GoTap Braille includes 80 pages of instruction and 40 tactile overlays that work with an Ipad and provide auditory feedback. UEB Practice Sentences are in hard copy and provide extension instruction in braille contractions.
Many students develop a visual impairment later in their childhood either through accident or a genetic basis. The supports on this page can provide instruction to those students. The I-M-ABLE approach provides a foundation in providing braille to students with cognitive impairments or those in which have been unsuccessful with traditional approaches. The Illinois Braille Series and Braille Too: Next Generation are both other programs for students who read print but are beginning braille instruction.