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Braille services and resources available to support Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired
January 17, 2023
LANSING, Mich. — To recognize the braille reading system’s impact on individuals who are blind or visually impaired and to call attention to the invaluable services and resources that enable Michiganders to learn and enhance their reading skills, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proclaimed January as Braille Literacy Month in Michigan.
In addition to January’s recognition as Braille Literacy Month, January 4 also marked the annual celebration of World Braille Day to honor the birthday of Louis Braille, who created the code in 1824. The Braille system enables individuals to read with their fingertips using a system of six raised dots, laid out in a six-pack formation. It also helps individuals who are blind or visually impaired in the workplace and classroom and assists with helping them learn about grammar, spelling and punctuation.
The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP), within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training, facilitates various braille services and resources in the state.
The BSBP Training Center, located in Kalamazoo, offers courses on braille that are designed to prepare students with the fundamentals of this reading/writing system, including identifying the braille alphabet, braille numbers, common punctuation and reading comprehension. The BSBP Training Center offers courses and training both in-person and via a virtual platform.
“The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons is here to assist blind or visually impaired individuals achieve employment and independence through a variety of customized solutions,” said BSBP Director William Robinson. “If you, or someone you know, may benefit from our services – whether that is becoming a patron of the Braille and Talking Book Library, instruction at our Training Center or vocational rehabilitation services – we encourage you to reach out so we may assess your needs and help you set and achieve your goals.”
###Vocational Rehabilitation, Pre-Employment Transition and Independent Living Older Blind Services are funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education. For federal Fiscal Year 2022, the total grant funds used for these services was expected to approximate $17.9 million for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), including $2.6 million of the VR grant reserved for Pre-Employment Transition Services and $988,000 for Independent Living for Older Blind Services.