Two children sitting on a bench with Braille Buzz in laps

Navigating Your Child’s Braille Journey

Starting the Journey

Every child travels a unique path. From the time they are born and as they grow, every child sets out on a personal journey, guided by parents, teachers, mentors, and others. But when your child is born blind or begins to lose their vision, parents are faced with making decisions that they may not feel prepared to make.

When it comes to selecting the best braille solution for your child, the American Printing House (APH) has developed a braille roadmap to help guide you. This roadmap was developed based on the needs of a child who was blind from birth, but parents of children who are losing their vision may also use this information to guide them as they consider their child’s future needs.

APH’s Braille Roadmap

APH’s Braille Roadmap begins in early childhood and continues through the transitional period following graduation from high school. Regardless of your child’s age or skill set, this roadmap provides information to help you choose the correct solution based on their needs.

Early Childhood / Beginning Braille Reader

Braille Buzz – An instructional toy for young braille learners, Braille Buzz encourages practice with braille characters, phonics, and keyboarding skills. Similar to mainstream teaching toys like LeapFrog or Fisher Price See ‘n Say, BrailleBuzz resembles a cartoon bumblebee, encouraging little ones with audio feedback.

Young Child

Braille Trail Reader LE (BTR) – The BTR is a customized, limited edition version of HumanWare’s Brailliant™ BI 14 braille display, developed exclusively for teachers and students. The Braille Trail Reader File Transfer Windows® App enables teachers to easily read and transfer files to and from their students’ Reader, and is unique to this device. 

Coming soon: A mobile app version of Braille Buzz. With a refreshable braille display, such as the Braille Trail Reader, Chameleon, or Mantis, connected to a mobile device running the Braille Buzz app, children will be able to practice 6-key keyboard skills, braille letter recognition, and phonics. 

Beginning Schoolwork

Chameleon 20 – While some children may continue to use the BTR when they begin school, the Chameleon 20 offers more functionality and provides your child with a device they can use throughout their school years. The Chameleon 20 is a 20-cell refreshable braille device that includes basic editor functionality, a book reader, a calculator, a clock, and a file manager for standalone productivity when not connected to a host device. Edit .doc, .docx, .txt, .brf, and .brl files in your preferred braille code and language. The Chameleon 20 even comes with bumper cases in three colors, allowing your child to personalize his/her device.

Transitional Skills

Mantis Q40 – Afirst-of-its-kind, all-in-one Bluetooth® keyboard and 40-cell refreshable braille display, the Mantis Q40 is ideal for both students and professionals. Bluetooth wireless technology connects you to multiple host devices using screen readers, in addition to its USB C wired connection. Includes basic editor functionality, book reader, calculator, clock, and file manager for standalone productivity when not connected to a host device.

A Vision for the Future

Future plans for APH’s Braille Roadmap include the development of a multi-line refreshable braille device that includes a tactile graphics display, allowing your child to access all the information they need with one device, and an embosser that features tactile graphics.

We at the American Printing House recognize that every student learns differently. This is why we have made a significant effort to expand our electronic braille options for all students with visual impairments.  We understand that one size does not fit all, and we are excited to offer teachers, parents, and students a full suite of devices for braille productivity. Braille equals literacy for those who are blind, and as this roadmap displays, APH is committed to braille innovation and choice.