Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lawrence 10-year-old headed to prestigious contest

June 24, 2010


Luther Fuller, 10, displays a Perkins Brailler, a machine he’ll use Saturday as he competes in the National Braille Challenge.

Luther Fuller, 10, displays a Perkins Brailler, a machine he’ll use Saturday as he competes in the National Braille Challenge.

Lawrence 10-year-old to compete in national Braille competition

Luther Fuller, a Quail Run Elementary student, will travel to Los Angeles this weekend with his family to compete in the National Braille Challenge. Enlarge video

Luther Fuller’s fingers bang out letters as the 10-year-old runs them over the six different keys on his Perkins Brailler.

The clicks sound like a typewriter.

He finishes, snatches out the sheet and runs his fingers over the paper.

“Hello, my name is Luther.”

It was a simple demonstration, but this Quail Run fifth-grader can do much more.

Luther’s skills will be on display Saturday in Los Angeles when he represents Kansas in his age group in the 10th annual National Braille Challenge, a program of the Braille Institute. “It’s an academic competition,” said his mother, Brendy Latare. “Like the National Spelling Bee, it’s kind of on that level for Braille readers. It’s great he’s able to use his skills.”

Luther, legally blind after contracting an eye disease at a young age, qualified with his performance at a regional competition in Nebraska. He was chosen from among more than nearly 800 of the top blind and visually impaired U.S. and Canadian students.

He learned to read Braille when he attended the Kansas State School for the Blind in Kansas City, Kan., and credited his favorite teacher, Janie Parr, for her help.

In his Quail Run classroom he uses a BrailleNote machine that operates similar to a laptop. He has excelled academically.

“He’s a pleasure to work with,” said Rachel Haydon, a Lawrence teacher for students with visual impairments. “He’s a very intelligent child. He’s got a pleasant personality. He’s curious about things.”

In the challenge, students will be required to transcribe, type and read using the Perkins Brailler. Luther’s fingers are fast, but he also enjoys proofreading.

“I think accuracy really was the main thing. I’m pretty picky about mistakes,” he said, running his fingers over a sample message he typed.

Luther will make the trip to California with his mother; his father, Bob Fuller; and sister, Elsa Latare.

“I think I would really like to win,” he said. “But I’m not going to be all upset or anything if I don’t. I feel fortunate.”


Shockem211 7 years, 10 months ago

Yay Luther! This is really Awesome! He is such a wonderful kid and very deserving. His parents are excellent as well.

SpunKey 7 years, 10 months ago

Nice to see great things happening to wonderful people! We've always known Luther is once sharp guy. The constant support and encouragment of his entire family has nurtured his can-do attitude and they deserve the trip too! Congrats!

lori 7 years, 10 months ago

Nice job, Latare-Fuller family! Last year, the national History Day competition in DC, this year the national Braille Challenge in California. I'd say you have some smart, talented kiddos. Good luck in Cali, Luther!

Paul R Getto 7 years, 10 months ago

Wonderful story; sometimes we forget about the two special purpose schools in the Olathe area. Many children benefit from these limited and expensive services. Great job, Luther; keep it up.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 10 months ago

indeed Paul that is right.

however please note that KSSB right now is only teaching braille to about a quarter of its students!

Braille is the only form of actual literate language for blind people. technology does not prevent the need for braille. in fact, it increases the need for it. using talking books, talking computers, etc., the language is in audio. the syntax, spelling, and even the shape of the language is not practiced by the reader in these media.

technology also makes much more material available in braille these days.

Luther is a bright kid. I think he has a big future ahead of him.

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