Utah students compete in Braille challenge

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SALT LAKE CITY – About 40 children who are blind or visually impaired competed in the Utah Regional Braille Challenge Friday.

Kids from ages 6 to 18 competed in three different sections relating to Braille: reading, spelling and typing. The winners advance to a national competition.

Officials said only about 20 percent of blind students in the U.S. can read and write Braille, but a board member from the Utah Foundation for the Blind, Julia Kleinschmidt, said that the competition is about more than just learning for these children.

"Children with blindness and visual impairment are relatively rare, and so usually there'll be like one in a school,” she said. “So this is a great opportunity for children with visual impairment or blindness to get together with peers, to interact, to have a good time.”

Kleinschmidt said the competition and other measures to help students learn Braille are important, as those who know Braille have an easier time finding employment.