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Braille battles to stay in touch

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People with visual impairments read braille by running their fingers over a series of raised dots representing letters of the alphabet. The system was devised by a French schoolboy, Louis Braille, in 1821. (Cassandra Vinograd/CNS)

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Kalah Dolman, 9, reads the braille text that she has recently written on her braille typewriter. Kalah is one of only 10 percent of blind American schoolchildren who use braille as their primary medium of communication. (Cassandra Vinograd/CNS)

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Kalah Dolman, 9, reads from her braille book during class at the New York Institute of Special Education in New York City. Only 10 percent of blind schoolchildren use braille as their primary medium of communication. (Cassandra Vinograd/CNS)

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Kalah Dolman, 9, who is totally blind, is in the fourth grade at the New York Institute of Special Education, where she learns to read and write in braille. (Cassandra Vinograd/CNS)

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The PAC Mate is a pocket PC device for the visually impaired. It runs versions of common Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel and has a braille and audio output (Courtesy of Freedom Scientific)

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Only 10 percent of America's blind children rely on Braille. But advocates insist that learning the system is vital for attaining literacy--even in an age of technological advances.


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