Watching Stevie Wonder perform at yesterday’s beautiful tribute to Michael Jackson, I was reminded of what a remarkable performer Wonder is, and of how much he has accomplished in light of life-long blindness. The musician is a true role model for those with visual impairments and other disabilities.
As a child, Wonder attended the Michigan School for the Blind, where along with academics, he received specialized training to help him live more independently and successfully in the world. But with the push for educational inclusion, this specialized school, like many others, no longer exists. Leaders in the field now argue that as a result, children who are blind or visually impaired are not receiving the training in Braille necessary for life success, raising concerns of illiteracy.
Braille is a series of raised dots that allows children who are blind or visually impaired to learn to read and write. According to the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), just 10 percent of blind children are learning Braille today. Yet, 85 percent of those children attend public schools, where few teachers are trained in Braille.
That’s why the NFB has announced its Braille Readers Are Leaders literacy campaign to help double the number of Braille readers by 2015. To read some Quick Facts about why Braille is considered so important, and to learn more about the NFB, visit here.
Photo by Judy Winter 08