Amazing Kids! Magazine

Louis Braille, Child Inventor of the Braille Method of Reading and Writing for the Blind

By Veronica Sturman, age 8, Natchitoches, Louisiana

 

Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar

 

 

Louis Braille was a child inventor who was creative and full of confidence. He was blinded at the age of three, in 1812, using an awl in his father’s workshop. His insatiable thirst for knowledge led him on a quest to figure out a way for blind people to quickly and easily read and write. It took months to read a single book using raised letters at the blind school. Louis got the idea of using raised dots from an army captain, Captain Barbier, who used a raised dot system for sending night messages. He began experimenting with what is now known as braille writing at the age of twelve and finished at the age of fifteen.

He began teaching braille to the other children at the blind school. They used a stylus to punch dots into thick paper. The students loved it, because it was very easy to use. They took notes in class, wrote letters to each other, and kept diaries. The director of the blind school, Dr. Pignier, also thought the invention was brilliant, but he could not find any donors to pay for the production of braille books.

Dr. Pignier asked Louis to become a teacher at the blind school when he was older. They continued to look for funding to print braille books. In the meantime, Louis hand-punched books in braille for the school’s library. After Dr. Pignier left the school, Dr. Dufau became director of the school. Dr. Dufau didn’t like Louis’ invention. When Louis came down with tuberculosis and was recovering at his parent’s home, Dr. Dufau forbid the students to use braille and burned all of Louis’ braille books. Louis didn’t let this stop him from making his dream come true. When he returned to the school, he convinced Dr. Dufau to accept braille, and together they continued looking for funding for books.

Louis Braille died at the age of forty-three. Shortly before he died, the first braille printing press was opened. Other blind schools were beginning to use braille. His perseverance paid off. Now, blind children all over the world use braille to read and write.

 

One comment

  1. shelley /

    I really, really admire Louis Braille for what he did, and I admire the schoolboys who dared to defy Dr Dufau’s ban on braille; they really do have my admiration

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