SEE FOR YOURSELFBy: Darrelyn L. Tutt
Louis Braille was born to Monique and Simon-Rene Braille on January 4, 1809 in the small hillside village of Coupvay, France.His father was a saddle maker who operated a small shop nearby. The youngest of four, little Louis spent a great deal of time inside working and playing in the shop beside his father. A typical little boy, he was fascinated with his father's instruments. One particular day at the tender age of three, he slipped into his father's shop unattended and took hold of a sharp instrument he'd seen his father use. The sharp tool slipped from his hands and punctured one of his eyes and he lost his vision in it.Unfortunately and not long after, an infection developed in his blind eye and spread into the other eye as well. Beautiful little Louis was entirely blind by the age of four but he was also resilient, adventurous, and intelligent.His father capitalized on these attributes and rather than coddle and shelter little Louis, Simon-Rene' developed helpful systems and patterns by which Louis could experience the world.Three Invaluable Aids:*MovementSimon-Rene' made a cane for Louis and brought him along wherever he went. Whether it was into town or out into the country, to the grocers or to the garden, Louis grew familiar with new landscapes and was encouraged to explore and adventure into them without the aid of others.He wasn't coddled, sheltered, or over-protected.As a result ... a keen sense of hearing and smell developed as did a sense of direction, movement, and wonder.-----*IntelligenceSimon-Rene' created an alphabet board using a large piece of wood and tapping the entire alphabet into it with nails. He taught him an early form of phonics and developed rudimentary early learning skills in his intelligent son which would, in the end, change the world for the blind and engineer a more concrete and advanced form of education with the development of Braille.-----*InvestmentLouis was given an early education and went to school as did all other children. Teachers would immediately assess Louis as having a brilliant mind but with an obvious need for more concentrated attention.In February 1819 at ten years of age, Simon-Rene' and Monique invested in their son's education and entered him into the National Institute for the blind in Paris, France. He would remain there for the rest of his life and graduate first as a student and then as a professor and developer of "Braille."Louis flourished in all arenas of life and aided the entire world with his gift of words, intelligence and ... vision.------ Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, idolized Louis Braille.She coined him as a generous genious with a "godlike courage and a heart of gold."Louis, she said, "made it a pleasure for me to read and the world around me shone afresh with treasures.""He built a large, firm stairway for millions of sense-crippled human beings to climb from hopeless darkness to the Mind Eternal."-Helen Keller-----Vision changes the world ...Make sure you're traveling with it.