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I've been told by a friend who works at a school for the blind that no sighted person has ever learned to read braille by touch at the level that is comparable to a literate blind person. Is this true? Many sighted people can read braille fluently but most of these people seem to read braille visually.

This page suggests that people have learned to read braille by touch into their old age but it does not mention if these people were visually impaired and does not provide citations. It suggests that if you are not visually impaired, you should consider reading braille visually.

This forum thread asks a similar question and gives some personal experiences but it's hard to get a specific trustworthy answer to the question. The thread points to this PBS video which I cannot find online but that apparently describes experiments of having sighted individuals wear blindfolds and read braille. Both links describe a vague concept of "brain rewiring" in order to read braille by touch but it's unclear if this requires absence of vision.

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    I think this is a case of why in the world would they want to spend the time it would take? – Loren Pechtel Jun 7 '14 at 17:20
  • Ah ok. I'll try to edit the question, so that it's clearer. – epimika Jun 8 '14 at 1:06
  • I'm looking for the controversy here. It seems unlikely that many sighted people would commit to put in the hours to learn to read Braille by touch at a young enough age to match the commitment of a visually-impaired person. There's no need to hypothesize magical powers granted by being visually-impaired. Do you doubt this? – Oddthinking Jun 8 '14 at 1:23
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    @Flimzy: To say that the claim was not identical to the question before it was edited would be true. To say that they were "not even related" (twice!) is both incorrect (they are clearly related) and overly harsh to a SE newcomer. – Benjamin Mako Hill Jun 8 '14 at 18:29
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    I have also heard the claim that sighted people can not learn to read braille by touch fluently. @Oddthinking's explanation sounds reasonable but it would be nice to see evidence one way or another. People must have done research on braille learning. – Benjamin Mako Hill Jun 8 '14 at 18:37

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