October 31, 2013
For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Frances Mary D'Andrea, Chair
Braille Authority of North America
Planning for the implementation of Unified English Braille (UEB) took a huge step forward on Wednesday, October 16, when the Braille Authority of North America convened 48 delegates representing 31 organizations from the braille community in a UEB Transition Forum in Louisville, KY. The Forum was a full day of collaborative planning designed to help delegates and their representative organizations determine the steps and timetable through which the United States will make an effective transition to Unified English Braille.
The Forum, organized and facilitated by BANA, provided the rare opportunity for delegates from various braille-related communities to meet face-to-face. The ambitious agenda focused on identifying specific actions and strategies required to develop plans for a smooth and effective implementation of UEB.
Forum planners recognize that the transition plan must take into consideration all aspects of using, learning, teaching, and producing braille. With that as a guiding principle, the Forum was organized into facilitated workgroups through which Forum delegates identified and prioritized actions needed in the following areas:
- quality UEB training for transcribers, proofreaders, and educators;
- the building of UEB transcription capacity;
- system adjustments for the procurement and delivery of braille materials in UEB;
- a smooth transition to UEB for children's braille reading and writing instruction and educational assessments;
- a smooth transition of adults' braille instruction to UEB and increased knowledge of UEB among adults who already use braille.
The delegates to the Forum acknowledged that the transition to UEB will take time and necessitate extensive preparation and collaboration among all the systems and infrastructures involved. Their work on October 16 laid a foundation that will help leaders build a carefully crafted timeline and coordinated plan. Detailed timelines are under development by individual organizations, and transition efforts are now being initiated. The consensus of the delegates was that January 2016 is a reasonable target date for the implementation of UEB. The work accomplished at the Forum will assist the braille community as it builds and adapts the infrastructure necessary to meet the proposed implementation date.
BANA's UEB Task Force as well as the BANA Board will meet in early November in Louisville. At this meeting, they will discuss the transition to UEB with the goal of setting a definite implementation date, which will then be formally announced.
For additional resource information, visit www.brailleauthority.org
The Board of BANA consists of appointed representatives from seventeen member organizations of braille producers, transcribers, teachers, and consumers.
The mission of the Braille Authority of North America is to assure literacy for tactile readers through the standardization of braille and/or tactile graphics.
The purpose of BANA is to promote and to facilitate the uses, teaching, and production of braille. Pursuant to this purpose, BANA will promulgate rules, make interpretations, and render opinions pertaining to braille codes and guidelines for the provisions of literary and technical materials and related forms and formats of embossed materials now in existence or to be developed in the future for the use of blind persons in North America. When appropriate, BANA shall accomplish these activities in international collaboration with countries using English braille. In exercising its function and authority, BANA shall consider the effects of its decisions on other existing braille codes and guidelines, forms and formats; ease of production by various methods; and acceptability to readers.