Since introduced more than 200 years ago, there have been many misperceptions about braille, including it can take years to learn and is exclusively a language for the blind. In fact, neither is true. Braille is not a language, rather it is a system of writing that uses combinations of raised dots to spell letters and numbers and is used both by people who are blind as well as those with varying levels of vison loss to help them navigate life.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month.

Hadley, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the nation's leader in distance and online learning for visually impaired adults from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, and is the world's largest braille educator. Founded in 1920 as a correspondence school providing braille lessons by mail, today Hadley offers workshops on hundreds of topics and connects users to live experts through its new learning hub,, which was built on months of research and based on the needs, wants and desires of visually impaired adults. All at no cost.

Hadley recently launched Braille for Everyday Use, a series of interactive workshops that includes a workbook mailed to users homes and accompanying audio instruction available by phone or online.

With advances in technology and assistive devices, many with vision loss can now read documents and browse the internet. Screen reading software makes computers, cell phones and other electronic devices accessible. Yet more people with vision loss are embracing braille for its ease and practicability assisting in daily routines, including identifying buttons in an elevator, labeling a pill bottle, or figuring out which public restrooms are for men or women.

Mark Andrews was a visual artist until autoimmune retinopathy, a disease which attacks proteins in the retina, led to deterioration of his eyesight. The Connecticut resident turned to Hadley to learn braille to help him navigate in public, and get around his home.

"Braille used to seem complicated and unapproachable to me," said Andrews. "By learning it through Hadley, I have never tried anything where I felt so successful right off the bat."

To enroll in Hadley's free Braille for Everyday Use workshop series, call 1-800-323-4238 or order online. For more information on Hadley's array of online and distance learning classes, workshops, live discussion groups and podcast visit: