Fewer Individuals With Braille Reading Skills

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KUALA NERUS: The revolution of smartphone has led to a decrease in the number of visually impaired people who still possess Braille reading skills.

Malaysia Blind Muslim Association (Pertis) Terengganu branch chairman Mohd Fauzi Mansor said the situation occurred because many of visually impaired individuals suffered from eyesight problems as an adult.

“For people with visual impairments from birth, they attended special education schools to receive formal education and are proficient in Braille reading.

“However, many adults have been suffering from vision loss lately due to health problems such as chronic diabetes, nerve pain or accidents, and most of them are not good at mastering Braille reading,” he said when met by Bernama at the Pertis office near Seberang Takir, here today.

According to the Terengganu Social Welfare Department (SWD) statistics, there were 2,099 visually impaired persons registered last year but only 400 were registered with Terengganu Pertis.

He added that the situation was also due to the absence of schools offering Braille reading except for non-governmental organisation (NGO) such as Pertis.

Mohd Fauzi said despite many people thought Braille reading skill was only suitable for the visually impaired individuals, others could still learn it as an additional skill.

“Terengganu Pertis holds Braille Quran reading classes three times a week and strongly encourages more people to join this class in the future so that the skills will not be sidelined due to the sophistication of modern technology,” he said.

Meanwhile, civil servant Aziz Musa, 51, said he started studying Braille reading including the Braille Quran after suffering some vision loss in 2014 due to neurological disease and doctors confirmed he was at high risk of blindness.

“Later, I contacted Pertis to study the Braille Quran as it was my initiative to still read the Quran fluently, in case Allah takes back my vision completely.

“It’s a bonus for me to learn when the eyes are still good because I can see the details of Braille clearly,” he said, adding that his eyesight has deteriorated.

For Afzan Ameera Ahmed, 29, who was visually impaired since small, she took about two months to master the skills of reading Braille Quran.

“I have learned Braille from very young age and have learned the basics of Braille reading in Jawi, so it is not difficult for me to master it in a short time.

“While there are many applications in smartphones that help the visually impaired to communicate just like any other normal person, I still encourage people with disabilities to master Braille reading skills as it provides the basic to gain more knowledge in the future,” she said. — Bernama