The Moon System of Embossed Reading (commonly known as the Moon writing, Moon alphabet, Moon script, Moon type, or Moon code) is a writing system for people with sight loss, using embossed symbols mostly derived from simplified Latin script.
Moon type is claimed to be easier to understand that Braille, although it is mainly used by people who have lost their sight as adults as they already have the knowledge of the letter shapes.
Moon System of Embossed Reading was developed by englishman Dr William Moon between 1843 and 1845 who lost his sight at the age of 21 from scarlet fever. At the time of developing his own style of embossed type he was a teacher for the blind and saw an opportunity to simplify learning of embossed reading codes. At the time that William Moon developed his embossed print, braille, although developed 16 years before, had not reached the UK from France.
Rather than the use of dots, which braille makes use of, Moon uses raised curves, angles and lines, which when printed have a strong resemblance to the printed equivalent.
Moon has been found particularly suitable for those who lose their sight later in life or for people who may have a less keen sense of touch. It has also proved successful as a mode of literacy for children with additional physical and or learning difficulties.
In more recent years however a change has been made to move back to braille, this was confirmed by the RNIB in June 2012 who said:
“We believe that there is a need for an alternative simple tactile script for people whose sight is too poor to use a print script, but for whom braille, even uncontracted braille, is not a satisfactory solution.
However RNIB and other blindness agencies world-wide have serious reservations about the viability of Moon as this alternative tactile script. We aspire to conduct research into the viability of alternate tactile scripts, but in recent years our financial position has prevented us from embarking on such a large-scale project.
With our limited resources, we have decided to focus on teaching and promoting braille and other accessible formats. This is in line with other major blindness organisations world-wide. We are not planning to return to active production and promotion of Moon, though we will continue to offer products until stocks run out, loan adult books from our library, and signpost to practitioner experts and other resources.”
More information can be found about Moon and the RNIB’s position here: http://www.rnib.org.uk/braille-and-moon-tactile-codes/moon