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Find out more about communication methods and read inspiring stories about the people that use them.
This page explains what braille is, who uses it, how you can start to learn it – and why it’s called braille
Braille is a way of reading a language using touch.
In braille, letters and numbers are made up of a rectangle with six dots in two columns. Each letter and number uses a different pattern of raised dots.
If you are blind or have sight loss, you can use braille, which means you read by touch.
With braille, you can actively write and read – and there are plenty of braille magazines and books to choose from in braille.
You can play a range of card games in braille, and use labels made with braille to join in other games and activities.
The best way you can learn braille is from a qualified teacher on a properly structured course.
There are two grades of braille:
RNIB offers a range of courses, training sessions and other resources for children, young people and adults.
Courses for adults include contracted and uncontracted braille for touch and sighted learners
Courses for children and young people include contracted and uncontracted braille
Resources for schools, including education packs for Key Stage 1 and 2
To find out more, talk to your child's Qualified Teacher of Visual Impairment.
The Royal Blind School teaches braille to children and young people who are blind or have a sight loss.
Pupils start to learn braille on a pre-braille programme designed to meet individual pupil needs.
They then go on to learn braille through a braille reading scheme. They learn to write, first using a braille typewriter and then digital electronic braille devices.
You can also find out more about braille machines and notetakers from Living made easy
You can link a braille display to a computer to read what is on the screen.
You can also produce braille using a computer with translation software and a desktop brailler printer.
If you’ve installed braille translation software on your computer, you might already have a braille font.
Check for braille in the font list in your word-processing software, e.g. Microsoft Word or Word for Mac (other packages are available). On a Mac, look also in the Font Book software.
Find out more about downloading, installing and using braille in Microsoft Word for Windows.
Find out about using braille displays with VoiceOver on Mac
If you don’t have a braille font, you can download one from the internet. There are lots to choose from, many of them free.
But remember – as with everything else, you download for free from the internet at your own risk.
A Frenchman called Louis Braille (1809–52) lost his sight through a childhood accident, aged 10. In 1824, he developed the braille code, aged just 15.
Two years after his death, braille was adopted as the official communications system for blind people in France.
It eventually spread to other countries. In 1870, in Britain, it was chosen as the best communication system for readers who were blind.
Unified English Braille (UEB) is now used in all major English-speaking countries in the world.
Unified English Braille (UEB) is easier to learn than Standard English Braille (SEB), which we officially stopped using in 2016.
With UEB, we no longer need specialist braille codes for mathematics, science and languages.
Find out more about UEB guidelines, standards and resources, including Welsh and Irish language braille, from the UK Association for Accessible Formats