The Braille Challenge

Authors: Excerpts for the Braille Challenge Web site

Keywords: Braille Challenge, braille

Abstract: The Braille Challenge is an academic competition designed to encourage students who are blind to emphasize their study of braille. This article provides information on the Braille Challenge and highlights Texas winners for the 2015 competition.

Congratulations to Harley Fetterman and Summer Johnson from Austin, Texas for being among the 15 students from across the nation that won honors at the 2015 Braille Challenge Finals!

Harley Fetterman, (Varsity) From Austin, TX. This entrepreneurial 11th grader hopes to one day develop a 2 ½ dimensional, refreshable, tactile screen that he can distribute through a company that he owns and manages himself! He is a board member of the Texas Association of Blind Students, is part of his school’s “All A” Honor Roll and was named “Camper of the Year” while attending Camp Discovery. He plays several musical instruments including the French horn, guitar, ukulele, mandolin and the saw. He and his family have traveled to all 50 states and together they choose to look at every situation in the most positive light and with humor. This is Harley’s 8th year attending The Braille Challenge and he has been reading braille for 11 years.  We invite you to read an article written by Harley’s mom, Beth Freeborn, from the Fall 2012 Texas SenseAbilities newsletter highlighting his experience when he competed in the 2012 Braille Challenge.

Summer Johnson, (Apprentice) From Austin, TX. Summer was a 1st place winner in the regional Braille Challenge in 2015. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up, so that she can teach people different things such as science, math, and Braille. Summer has participated in The Braille Challenge for 2 years.

Get Ready for the 2016 Braille Challenge!

The Braille Challenge is an academic competition unlike any other. This two-stage contest is designed to motivate blind students to emphasize their study of braille, while rewarding their success with fun-filled, but challenging, local and national events. Any visually impaired student who reads braille is eligible to participate in the preliminary Challenge contest events, which are held from January through the end of March throughout the U.S. and Canada. Contests are proctored by volunteer teachers for students visual impairment and scored locally according to our national guidelines by volunteer transcribers. Each contestant receives a braille certificate of appreciation and general feedback on their performance, which will be sent to families and educators in May.

This year The Braille Challenge will be held at 46 different sites and will be proctored by up to 80 individual teachers of visually impaired students from throughout the United States and Canada. The preliminary round is open to students of all skills levels, but the top-scoring 60 contestants nationally will be invited to Los Angeles in June for a Final Round—two days of competition, camaraderie and fun! Braille Challenge contest categories include reading comprehension, braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs.

The Braille Institute Is gearing up for another exciting season of The Braille Challenge! Here’s where you’ll find all the latest news for teachers, finalists, parents, and Regional Coordinators. They also invite you to visit their Facebook page to get updates, engage with other contestants and their families, and share your #BrailleChallenge experience!

For 2016 contracted apprentice contests will be in Unified English Braille (UEB), freshman contests will be UEB Optional. As of January 2016, UEB will be the official braille code for the United States. Based on a review of state implementation plans and feedback from our Regional Coordinators, teachers and National Advisory Committee, most younger students will be transitioning to UEB in September 2015, but the transition from EBAE to UEB is less defined and not as consistent for older students. The goal of The Braille Challenge is to support the timely transition to UEB.

To learn more about The Braille Challenge, please visit The Braille Institute website.

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