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Blind attack changes to Braille.

By MAXINE FRITH

Special Correspondent

The UK's largest organisation of blind people yesterday attacked a controversial decision to introduce capital letters into Britain's 130-year-old Braille system.

The National Federation of the Blind said the decision by the Braille Authority UK would make text more cumbersome and slower to read.

It warned the change would deter people from learning the system and lead to confusion where lower case versions were still used.

Capital letters will be introduced from next year after a final decision was made by the BAUK last week at the end of a fraught, year-long consultation period.

But lower case versions of publications will be offered as an alternative after a vigorous campaign by Braille users.

The BAUK, an umbrella organisation of blind groups and Braille producers, said the introduction of capital letters would bring the UK system into line with the US and help users to master word-processing and printing.

But NFB spokeswoman Mrs Jill Allen-King commented: "The BAUK were supposed to consult with the blind population but they haven't taken the views of the majority of Braille users into account.

"For people like me, who went blind at 24, it is already difficult to learn.

"Adding capital letters means adding an extra symbol in front of every word and sentence - we think it will put people off learning Braille and add to the length of publications."
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Title Annotation:National
Author:Frith, Maxine
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 3, 1999
Words:230
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