MUSKOGEE – Thirty students from across the state are pre-registered to compete at Oklahoma School for the Blind’s 17th annual Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge on Thursday, March 7 in Muskogee.
The contest will take place from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the OSB campus at 3300 Gibson Street.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
Braille Challenge is a national program of the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
OSB organizers will include the Braille Institute’s 100th birthday as part Braille Challenge activities.
“Braille Challenge is a great opportunity for our students to compete and showcase their braille skills,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said. “
“The top 10 students nationwide in each age category of the competition will be eligible to compete nationally this summer in California.”
Oklahoma competitors who score among the top 60 nationally will advance to the national Braille Challenge competition in Los Angeles in June.
“I appreciate the Braille Challenge Coordinator Faye Miller and her many volunteers for all of the work they put into making the event successful,” Echelle said.
Participants in first through 12th grades compete in five contest categories: apprentice, freshman, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity.
Each category is designed to test braille skills in several areas—reading comprehension, braille speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling and reading tactile charts and graphs.
Contests are proctored by teachers for visually impaired students and scored locally by volunteer transcribers, according to the Braille Institute’s national guidelines.
Contestants will receive brailled certificates of appreciation, commemorative t-shirts and gift bags with donated prizes from local and national sponsors.
Braille Institute staff will share feedback about each contestant’s performance with families and educators in May.
“Braille Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for our braille users to show off their literacy skills and celebrate the importance of Braille, which is essential to their future academic and employment success,” Faye Miller, competition co-coordinator and OSB teacher, said. “It is also wonderful to have volunteers from the community share this experience with us as they proctor or score tests.”
Braille is internationally recognized as the foundation of literacy for students whose visual impairments prevent efficient use of print. It enables them to learn and practice spelling, punctuation, composition styles, and research and study skills.
According to Cornell University’s 2016 Disability Status Report, 138,100 non-institutionalized Oklahomans of all ages have visual disabilities. http://www.disabilitystatistics.org/StatusReports/2016-PDF/2016-StatusRe...
Cornell University research indicates that 44.5 percent of Oklahomans with visual disabilities, ages 21 to 64, are employed, while the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped reports that nationally 90 percent of blind jobseekers who beat the employment odds are braille readers.
For more information about Braille Challenge®, contact Faye Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-781-8200.
Oklahoma School for the Blind is the statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired students. Residential and commuter students meet all state-mandated education requirements and receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in the state. The school has maintained 100 percent graduation rate for five years. OSB also provides hundreds of hours of free evaluations and other direct services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff.
OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.