Tuesday, March 2, 2010
the miracle of touch
'The Braille system was based on a method of communication originally developed by Charles Barbier in response to Napoleon's demand for a code that soldiers could use to communicate silently and without light at night called night writing. Barbier's system was too complex for soldiers to learn, and was rejected by the military. In 1821 he visited the National Institute for the Blind in Paris, France, where he met Louis Braille. Braille identified the major failing of the code, which was that the human finger could not encompass the whole symbol without moving, and so could not move rapidly from one symbol to another. His modification was to use a 6 dot cell — the Braille system — which revolutionized written communication for the blind.'- wikipedia entry.
writer, anti war activist, and major inspiration, helen keller was born a healthy child. at 19 months an illness resulted in her loss of sight and hearing. years of determination by both helen and her teacher anne gave birth to an author. helen learned to read braille and became the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. she never ceased taking giant strides to overcome her lack of sight and hearing. she was known for her humor! what a gift is her legacy.
years ago a friend of mine suffered an accident which left him, for a short while, with bandages over is eyes. i proceeded to make him a braille chart out of pot seeds!
photo: 1888 photograph of helen and her dear teacher anne sullivan.