Blind Kids, Touchscreen Phones, and the End of Braille?

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Those raised dots sit at the center of a growing debate in the blind community.

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is stocked with all kinds of gadgets: singing calculators, talking typewriters, even video games that you navigate using only sound. Most are specialized and expensive — the school can afford them, but a lot of families can’t.

There is one piece of tech, however, that almost every student has, and, absolutely every student wants. It’s a status symbol, it’s a social media machine, and it will read text out loud. Yes, it's an iPhone. And 'reading' on a smartphone is gaining prominence as a reliable tool for the visually impaired. 

However this tool is the center of a larger question blind students and society at large are facing: Are iPads and iPhones rendering Braille obsolete? And if so, should advocates for the visually impaired be worried?

Click "listen" above and hear reporter Ryan Kailath take us into The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to hear all sides of the issue. 

And don't forget to check out our test to see how fast you can 'read with your ears,' a skill that blind kids often acquire and master. 

This is a repeat episode which originally aired in 2015. For more Note to Self, subscribe on iTunesStitcherTuneInI Heart RadioOvercastPocket Casts, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.