Fifth-grader from Enid earns silver, second place overall prizes at School for the Blind Regional Braille Challenge®
Oklahoma School for the Blind fifth-grader Ariana Richardson, from Enid, won a silver prize in the freshman category and second place overall for the apprentice and freshman groups.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Fifth-grader Ariana Richardson, from Enid, earned a silver prize in the freshman category and second place overall for the apprentice and freshman group at the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge®.
The competition was sponsored by the Oklahoma School for the Blind (OSB), headquartered in Muskogee. OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).
Twenty-two Oklahoma students competed in the academic contest, which measured students’ proficiency in braille reading and comprehension, speed and accuracy, spelling, proofreading and tactile graphics.
Thirty-seven regional competitions were scheduled in the U.S.
“We had the most students ever compete this year in the Braille Challenge® at the Oklahoma School for the Blind,” Faye Miller, regional competition coordinator and OSB teacher, said. “We expect to find out in early May whether Ariana Richardson and our other competitors qualify for the national competition in Los Angeles.”
Braille Challenge® is a national program sponsored by the Braille Institute, nonprofit organization that eliminates barriers caused by blindness and severe sight loss. Regional prize sponsors are the National Braille Press and Seedlings Braille Books for Children.
“For students with visual impairments, braille skills are an important link to academic success and future employment,” Oklahoma School for the Blind Superintendent James Adams said.
Braille is internationally recognized as the foundation of literacy when students’ visual impairments prevent efficient use of print. It enables them to learn and practice spelling, punctuation, composition styles, and research and study skills.
The basic unit is an arrangement of six raised dots, two across and three down that resembles the number six domino. Each dot or combination of dots represents letters of the print alphabet. Braille dots are designed to be read with the fingertips, but can be written by hand, on computers or portable electronic note takers.
Approximately 18,000 Oklahomans are legally blind, while more than 116,000 have vision difficulties, according to 2009 U.S. Census data.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is fully accredited and teaches specialized skills that help students live independently, as well as all state-mandated education requirements. In 2010, 186 students lived at the school during the week, commuted from home or attended summer school. The graduation rate from the residential and commuter program was 100 percent. OSB also provides thousands of free outreach services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and educators.
For more information about the Oklahoma School for the Blind, call 918-781-8200 or 877-229-7136 toll free.