( RNIB )
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) is trying to help the 130,000 blind people in Britain. Most of these people are 75 or older, which is an age when it is difficult to make a new start. Things are difficult if you are born blind but if you lose your sight  later in life, it is worse. It takes time to adjust to your new life without sight.

How easily you do this depends on your age, your character and the help you get from people around you. Think of the things we do every day like pouring a cup of tea, telling the time, or playing a game of cards.


Imagine how difficult it will be to  do any one of them if you are blind. RNIB grew from the idea of one man, Dr. Thomas Armitage, who formed a committee in 1868 to find the best method of reading by fingers. Armitage was a physician who had lost his sight and decided to spend the rest of his life improving conditions for blind people.

He thought the first thing thev needed was a good education. Schools for blind children in the nineteenth century used many different kinds of raised alphabet. Some were shaped like ordinary print, others were simplified forms of our alphabet like the Moon system, which we still use.


However, most could only be produced by a printing press, so  there was no way for a blind person to write.

With so many methods in use very few books could be published in each type. Armitage’s committee took two years to decide that Braille, which could be written as well as read, was the best and now it is used all over the world, in Chinese and in Russian, in Arabic and in Greek.

A. What do the following refer to?

1. ‘these people’ (line 2):

2. ‘which’ (line 3):

3. ‘them’ (line 10):

4. ‘they’ (line 15):

5. ‘others’ (line 17): other

1. Adjusting to life without sight depends on certain factors. What are these?
2. What was the advantage of Braille?


C. Mark the statements as True (7) or False (F) .

1. In the 19th century, there were no schools for the blind.

2. The Moon system is not in use today.

3. Before Armitage, blind people could not easily find books printed for themselves.

4. Braille was chosen as the best system for the blind in 1870


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