A House Springs boy is headed to the Braille big leagues, the National Braille Challenge in California.
Dana Dean | KSDK.com | June 9, 2014
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KSDK) – A House Springs boy is headed to the Braille big leagues, the National Braille Challenge in California.
Like many 8-year-olds, Austin Schwan loves riding roller coasters at Six Flags.
“On the weekends, we usually go from starting time to closing,” he said.
When he’s not at the amusement park, he’s finding amusement through reading and writing in Braille.
He said, “I use this instead of a pen, and it really lets me write in my own special way.”
Austin, who is blind, is so proficient at reading and writing in Braille, he placed first in his age group at the Missouri Braille Challenge. He’s now heading for the National Braille Finals in Los Angeles.
His Braille teacher, Joyce Strother, has worked with him since he was 3.
Strother, who teaches the visually impaired at the St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, said, “I have to keep my track shoes on all the time to keep up with him.”
Austin has a need for speed, and not just when it comes to roller coasters.
Strother said, “He reads 120 words per minute in Braille, he averages, so that’s pretty fast for a second grader to be reading.”
At the National Braille Challenge, June 20 and 21, he’ll be putting his skills to the test in spelling, writing and reading comprehension.
But it’s not all work, he plans to play at a California amusement park.
He said, “They have 15 roller coasters, and we only have nine here.”