If you care about storytelling, literacy or education, I recommend reading "Fewer than 10 pct. of blind Americans read Braille" by Ben Nuckols of the Associated Press.
The title's statistic of "Fewer than 10 percent" didn't mean much to me until I read of the profoundly negative effects on blind Americans of not being fluent in Braille:
...Today Braille is considered by many to be too difficult, too outdated, a last resort.
Instead, teachers ask students to rely on audio texts, voice-recognition software or other technology. And teachers who know Braille often must shuttle between schools, resulting in haphazard instruction, the report says.
"You can find good teachers of the blind in America, but you can't find good programs," said Marc Maurer, the group's president [the National Federation of the Blind]. "There is not a commitment to this population that is at all significant almost anywhere."
Using technology as a substitute for Braille leaves blind people illiterate, the federation said, citing studies that show blind people who know Braille are more likely to earn advanced degrees, find good jobs and live independently.
"It's really sad that so many kids are being shortchanged," said Debby Brackett of Stuart, Fla., who pressured schools to provide capable Braille teachers for her 12-year-old daughter, Winona.
One study found that 44 percent of participants who grew up reading Braille were unemployed, compared with 77 percent for those who relied on print. Overall, blind adults face 70 percent unemployment...
The article cites technology like audio books as hampering the way blind people learn to read and write. Couldn't someone, perhaps using a new technology, improve Braille learning, instruction and communication? (Does anyone reading this post know anything about this? Please leave a comment if you do!)
On another note, if any group is deprived of outlets to tell their own stories, their experiences will often go unnoticed. Following this, when their stories disappear, the group itself becomes less noticed in larger society.
Writing and reading stories is so crucial to children's (and adult's) growth and development. Clearly the blind population is not being served. I wonder how many great storytellers, thinkers and inventors among this group are being kept from reaching their full potential because of low Braille literacy.
Inspired by the article, I looked up Louie Braille on Wikipedia. He developed his system of raised dots when he was 15 years old.