Braille Challenge brought to East Meadow

Feb 10, 2016 | By Julie Mansmann |

About 15 students from across the tri-state area, including some from East Meadow, participated in the ninth annual Long Island Regional Braille Challenge at W.T. Clarke High School on Saturday.

The Braille Challenge, a national program sponsored by the Braille Institute, is an academic competition unlike any other, officials said. The two-stage contest is designed to motivate blind students to emphasize their study of Braille, they explained, while rewarding their success with fun-filled and challenging local and national events.

Any visually impaired student who reads Braille is eligible to participate in the preliminary Braille Challenge events, which were held from January through the end of March throughout the U.S. and Canada. Petra Terrant, a teacher of the visually impaired, coordinated Long Island’s regional event.

Patrice Dobies, East Meadow’s director of special education and pupil personnel services, welcomed Braille Challenge participants and their families to Clarke for the event. She explained that the students tested their skills in Braille reading comprehension, proof reading, spelling, speed and accuracy, in addition to reading tactile charts and graphs at the local high school.

The event featured exhibits and interactive workshops as well. The Long Island Bombers Beep Baseball Team demonstrated their version of baseball, which requires a ball and bases that beep. New York Institute for Special Education also hosted a program about Goalball, a team sport designed specifically for blind athletes.

Each Braille Challenge participant will receive a Braille certificate of appreciation and general feedback on their performance. It will be sent to families and educators in May, according to the Braille Institute website.