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Braille messages will be used to encourage blind and visually impaired runners to take part in the London Marathon on Sunday.
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Thirty-five guided runners are expected to take part in the event, while hundreds more will raise money for charities supporting the blind and visually impaired.
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Banners displaying messages of encouragement in Braille will line kilometers 20 and 23 of the course, which are often the points where participants need a boost to keep going.
Drivers will be able to cheer on their runners on the left side of the course so they can feel the braille banner as they pass the obstacles.
Braille allows blind and visually impaired people to read and write by touch, using a combination of raised dots that represent alphabets, words, punctuation and numbers.
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Tactile code was developed by Louis Braille in the 1820s when he was a student at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris.
Sam Fox, 52, from Benfleet, Essex, became totally blind eight years ago and is running this year’s TCS London Marathon on behalf of the Guide Dogs charity.
“I can’t stress enough how grateful I am that our community is being thought of in an event on the scale of the London Marathon,” he said.
Fingers And Braille. Blind People Read A Book In Braille. Stock Image
“The gold standard has been set with the creation of this banner and more people and businesses should follow suit as it can make a huge difference to those who are blind, but rarely have sight.
“I became completely blind eight years ago and my freedom was given to me by my guide dog, Winston, but I think people who are blind and visually impaired are not always thought of. For example, guide dog owners often deny access to places.
“I can’t express how grateful I am and I can’t wait to feel it on the big day.”
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The banner was created through a collaboration between sports retailers Wiggle and New Balance and the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).
Mile 20, on Poplar High Street, often marks the point where runners need to push through their longest training run.
Mile 23, on Lower Thames Street, is where the RSBC opened the Life Without Limits Center earlier this year to help blind and visually impaired children and their families develop the skills, confidence and resilience to face the challenges of that they face
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Shalni Sood, director of philanthropy at RSBC, said: “It’s great to see a more inclusive and welcoming approach – the banner is a great example of that.
“We want to encourage more organizations in the sports sector to actively support the participation of visually impaired people. We hope to see more of the same in the future.”
RSBC’s work has been supported by a donation from Wiggle which will help provide emotional and practical support to two families for a full year.
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Wiggle chief executive Huw Crwys-Williams said he hoped the Braille banner would “create a special moment for visually impaired runners taking on this amazing challenge”.
Samantha Matthews, New Balance’s Senior Marketing Director for UK and Ireland, said: “Everyone should feel included on race day and that’s why we’re excited to support visually impaired runners at this year’s TCS London Marathon by providing accessible motivation and support through the toughest. miles in the race.”
A blind person reads a text in Braille as a banner with a Braille message of encouragement is unveiled for the TCS London Marathon for Blind Runners (Alamy/PA)
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Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to log in automatically. Please refresh your browser to login. Braille is a code that allows blind and visually impaired people to read and write. It is almost 200 years old, and is based on a system of raised points that are “read” with the fingertips.
According to the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) there are approximately 20,000 braille users in the UK. These are mainly people who have experienced vision loss since birth or at an early age.
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But now, thanks to technological advances like audiobooks and screen readers, blind and visually impaired people have access to things like websites or text, without needing to use braille.
We want to know more about Braille and how its use has changed with the introduction of new technologies.
It all started with a 10-year-old boy in France. 200 years ago Louis Braille, who lost his sight at the age of three, was sent to the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris.
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In 1821, a captain in Napoleon’s army presented him with a coded dot system for reading letters and words, which demonstrated his “night writing”—a system for soldiers to send and receive messages without making any sound.
By 1824, at the age of 15, Louis had discovered 63 ways to use a six-point cell in an area no larger than a fingertip.
Two years after his death, his code, now known as braille, was adopted as the official communication system for the blind in France.
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The code itself is based on six raised dots, arranged in two columns of three dots, representing the alphabet. There are 63 possible combinations. Visually impaired people read from left to right across the page by feeling using their fingers.
To this day, Braille is important in childhood because without it, it can be very difficult for blind children to become literate. But 200 years is a long time. How much has the landscape changed for braille and its users?
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett represented the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough area for 28 years. Born blind, he was the first blind minister in the British cabinet, a position at the highest level of politics.
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We asked why braille is still so important today, when the accessibility of the written word has increased so much with audio devices.
He said: “Imagine for a moment that you can’t read the letter on your door, your daily newspaper or the list of important reminders you may have pinned to the fridge. It’s braille that opens that window to those who can’t see.” .
“Literally at your fingertips, [you have] important notes for meetings, to-do lists, and labels on cans and packages to make sure you don’t serve peanuts with ice cream or cans of fish with fruit salad!”
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He said it was a “blend of braille and technology” that allowed the blind to “navigate everyday life with equality”.
So what is this technological innovation and what impact will it have on braille? RNIB Braille Technical Officer James Bowden helped us answer some questions.
Q: Have technological advances affected the number of people using Braille? A: Advances in technology have had a huge impact on braille, both negatively and positively.
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The advent of audiobooks means that many people, regardless of their eyesight, can enjoy novels and other published works only through sound.
Screen readers, which convert text into synthesized speech, are also now built into many existing models of smartphones and computing devices. This means that blind and visually impaired people have instant access to platforms such as websites or texts without the need to use braille.
However, technological developments have also made braille easier to use than ever before. The average book or novel will consist of five volumes in Braille. The largest book in the RNIB Library is the Viking Opera Guide, which is presented in 94 volumes in braille, occupying a 2.5 meter long shelf.
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But braille can also be electronic, thanks to the advent of rechargeable braille displays. This display involves a row of moving “pins” that form braille characters as the user swipes over them (almost like a braille version of an e-book).
Finally, the choice between audio and braille is unnecessary. Now, both can go hand in hand. Most technologies that convert text to speech also convert it to a form that can be read on an upgradeable braille display, making braille much more accessible to those who own both devices. Braille has unprecedented flexibility and versatility.
Is it possible that the use of braille will become extinct? A: Although technology has created new ways for blind and visually impaired people to access written information, braille continues to play a very important role.
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Braille is not only used for books and documents, it also has a variety of purposes in the real world. You may have noticed braille on an elevator button or braille on a medicine box in a pharmacy – these are examples of braille being used in society to convey simple messages to those who can read it.
Although it consists of different combinations of just six dots, braille can be used to represent everything from basic letters and numbers to advanced math and music. It would be very difficult for a blind mathematician
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