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ChildVision transcribes all text books for visually impaired children attending mainstream or special schools in Ireland.

In the last year we transcribed 7,000 text books into a number of alternate formats including customised braille, large print, digital files, tactile imagery and 3D. Our digital material is available through our free download facility, Online Bookshelf.

Reading Services at ChildVision was established to meet the educational needs of children with a visual impairment attending either mainstream or special education at both primary and secondary level. Our Braille and alternative format transcription service was officially opened on the 1st of September 2000.

It is a national service which provides access to educational material by transcriptions into a range of formats accessible to children with a visual impairment. The formats currently catered for are: Braille, tactile diagrams, MOON, 3D, Large Print, digital files/customised text files for use with assistive technology (speech output, magnification software or electronic braille devices). All transcriptions follow recognised national and international guidelines.

We provide a demand-led service and all material is provided free of charge. Our service is open to all children with a registered visual impairment in the Republic of Ireland.

In 2000 we provided 35 transcribed books for 17 children. In September 2020, we transcribed 7000 titles and worked for over 1000 children and young adults in both special and mainstream education. The staff are chosen for their expertise in various areas, such as mathematics and foreign languages and are all trained to a minimum of Unified English Braille transcriber level.

Our transcription service is linked with universities, assistive technology providers and specialised centres abroad to ensure the quality and standards are adhered to.

Orders are placed through the NCSE Visiting Teacher Service. For further information please contact readingservices@childvision.ie or call us on 01 837 3635.

Online Bookshelf

Since 2011, Reading Services has operated an online download facility for our digital production. This facility allows a child or young adult with a visual impairment to independently download the secure file of a book required in a particular accessible format. For registration with the service please click here or contact your/your child’s Visiting Teacher or email us at readingservices@childvision.ie


We have built up a comprehensive catalogue of books for primary, secondary and young adult readers, please email readingservices@childvision.ie for the most recent version of our catalogues.

3-D Printing

The latest addition to the range of services provided is an on-demand 3-D printing service. To date we have produced a number of items to support the teaching of mathematics through Braille including:

  • 3D shapes (pyramids, cubes, cylinders)
  • Braille number lines
  • Braille clocks
  • Braille fractions indicators
  • 100 squares

The feedback to date has been very positive and we continue to develop this area further.


UEB stands for Unified English Braille, an updated braille code which was adopted in Ireland in December 2013. It has been implemented to the Irish education system and since September 2018 all primary and secondary books are now transcribed in UEB.

INBAF – Irish National Braille and Alternative Formats Association

Reading Services management form part of the Executive committee of INBAF, an association that strives to help and advise anyone who utilizes braille, large print and other alternative formats and has an interest in the same. For further information please contact www.inbaf.ie

Braille Information

UEB stands for Unified English Braille, an updated braille code which was adopted in Ireland in December 2013. It has been implemented to the Irish education system and since September 2018 all primary and secondary books are now transcribed in UEB.


This is a list of our Frequently Asked Questions, please click the relevant question to go to the answer.

How are books transcribed?

All formats are transcribed based on the source file of the book. The source file is usually produced by scanning and pre-editing the book.

Once the source file is available, staff transcribe it into braille (using Duxbury Braille translation software) or MS Word for large print. This is very time-consuming work, as every sentence and paragraph needs to be properly formatted, with tactile diagrams (for braille) or scanned images (for large print) included. Once a first version has been embossed (“Braille-printed”) or printed out in large print, our braille or large print proofreaders check the text for errors.

A final, corrected version is then printed or embossed again, punched, bound and the final volume labelled in braille or print. Digital files are produced using the same source file. They are edited according to the final use of the file, i.e. whether it will be read by speech software, looked at with magnification software or used for a braille output device. Finished transcribed files are then uploaded to OnLine Bookshelf for secure and limited downloads by the students.

How long does it take to transcribe a book?

This depends very much on the book itself. Small primary school books with few illustrations are “easier” and quicker to transcribe than those with a lot of visual content or those at secondary school level. As a rule of thumb each illustration (graphic, photo etc.) slows the transcription down. The layout of each page also contributes to the time it takes to scan and transcribe. Depending on the book, any time between 2 weeks and one and a half years can apply.

Please contact us if you require further information.

Who can order books from us?

We provide transcription services to children with a registered visual impairment in mainstream or special education, at both primary and secondary school level. To become a client of Reading Services, a Client Registration Form needs to be filled in. In this form, the parent(s) of a child with a visual impairment (if under 18 years of age) are asked to provide us with a contact address and information on the school/year their child is in. We also ask for a sheet to be filled in indicating the eye condition and the resulting required format (i.e. braille, large print, text or DAISY files), Usually, the Visiting Teacher of our client would fill in this information. The final section requires the parent(s) to sign a declaration that any material provided by us is for the sole use of the child with a visual impairment.

How to order from us

Orders usually come in through the Visiting Teacher in cooperation with the school and classroom teacher. Please make sure to fill in all the information on the book title, author, publisher and most importantly the ISBN – if this is complete, no time is wasted with double-checking! Please also ensure that you give a contact address and the full required format of the transcription e.g. UEB grade 2 or “Large Print Arial 24” (and not just “Braille” or “Large Print”).

How are the books supplied?

Finished books are sent in the regular post. Most will bear the “articles for the blind” sticker. The books are usually sent to the main contact address specified for each student. In a lot of cases this is the school address, but please double-check whether you, as a client, have provided us with the correct address – especially if there was a change in school.
All digital files are uploaded to the OnLine Bookshelf.

What is Braille?

Braille is a tactile reading system used by many people with vision loss or no vision. It is named after its inventor, Louis Braille (1809-1852), a Frenchman who developed the system after a childhood accident had left him blind. Each braille sign fills in specified dots on a 6-dot braille cell. The six dots are arranged as on the face of a dice. Depending on which dots are raised, the sign carries a different meaning.

The dots are read with the fingers in a technique learned by braille readers by tracing lines and reading signs and words. The skill of reading braille is best developed from an early age onwards, starting with tracing exercises and the development of pre-braille skills. Currently, the skill of accessing information by reading braille is not rewarded in the Irish education system. It is an additional skill which requires effort and time and it is important that educators are aware of that throughout the whole educational system.

For more detailed information please contact us: readingservices@childvision.ie

What is Large Print?

Large Print means the provision of texts in a print size that is bigger than the average size (which is usually point 10–12) and a font type that is very clear.

Our standard large print type and font is Arial 24. We also transcribe into point sizes ranging from 18 to 36 and into other fonts, as required by the client.

What are tactile diagrams?

Tactile diagrams are diagrams or picture outlines with raised lines that can be touched and felt.In textbooks, a lot of crucial information is conveyed in a visual way, by sketches, diagrams etc. Tactile diagrams are one of several possible ways of conveying this kind of information. We would, for example, include many tactile diagrams in mathematics books. Tactile diagrams are either embossed, similar to braille, or can be hand-drawn, photocopied onto special paper and then raised by exposure to heat.

What are 3-D objects?

3-D objects are three-dimensional shapes which are printed on a 3D printer. For this to happen an object needs to be designed by using computer software. We also print braille on the objects to encourage independent learning. The objects are made up by plastic filament, which the printer builds up layer by layer until the full object is printed.

If you have any ideas what would be good to print in 3-D or any questions, please contact us at readingserives@childvision.ie

What are text-only files?

By text-only files we mean computer files (e.g. Word documents or WordPad files) that contain only the pure text of a textbook. Diagrams, photos, sketches etc. are not included. The text is the scanned text from a textbook, edited after scanning for spelling mistakes from the scanning process. The text is then also edited for use with speech software, magnification software or electronic braille output devices.

What is a digital book?

Digital books are computer files, not unlike text-only files in that respect, which allow the user to navigate the book easily. The user can decide how the book works best for them by adjusting font size, background colour font and background colour so it is a very versatile format.

Contact Reading Services

Reading Services
Grace Park Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9, Ireland.
Phone 01 837 3635
Email: readingservices@childvision.ie

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