Early on, people realized that one of the downsides of many reading and writing systems was that people could learn to read a particular system, but it was too laborious or practically impossible for a person to efficiently write. For its practicality, among other things, braille became widely used.
From its beginnings, and still today, a slate and stylus are popular tools to read and write. Think of them as the equivalent of your favorite pen and paper pad.
Braille is written with a combination of up to 6 dots. When using a slate and stylus, you punch dots into the cells of a slate. To read, you turn the paper around and feel the raised dots you just punched.
Watch this video to see how it works.
Mainstream typewriters were an excellent way for people who were blind to write, but not to read. In 1951, the Perkins Brailler (still in use today) was invented.
Today, the same way electronic text is an alternative to printed material, refreshable braille devices are used to read and write electronic braille. An example is APH’s Orbit Reader 20, a device that can perform as a standalone reader and note taker, or in conjunction with a screen reader, can turn text from a computer, a tablet or a phone into braille.
People who have remaining vision may use magnification systems to help them read and write. Some systems are hand-held devices, while others are desktop versions.
Desktop versions may have a distance viewing camera to enlarge things that are far away, such as a blackboard in a classroom. In addition they have a close-up camera to view things such as letters or documents.
An example is APH’s MATT Connect, a tablet magnifier that provides up to 40X magnification.