Holly Connor of Mercer Island started learning to read and write Braille in preschool.
Now 10, she’s one of North America’s fastest readers and writers in her age group – when it comes to Braille.
This weekend she headed to the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles where she competed with 12 other finalists in the third- and fourth-grade division. (We hadn't heard how she fared by Sunday night.)
We wanted to know how you get so fast at something like that, and to learn a bit of Braille. So we invited her in to the studio for a lesson.
Holly brought in two Braille typewriters – heavy machines often referred to as “Braillers.” She showed Marcie Sillman how to use the nine keys on the machine to type “K-U-O-W.”
“The K is 1-3, together,” Holly said, as she effortlessly rattled off number combinations for each letter. “And U is, together, 1-3-6. And O is, together, 1-3-5. And W is, together, 2-4-5-6.”
Holly’s mom said that she is naturally good at writing and reading Braille – Holly said that having autism has helped her in this regard.
Of the four areas she’ll compete – reading, spelling, proofreading, Braille speed and accuracy -- Holly said spelling is her best subject.
And she said that if she wins first place, she’ll receive a computer that teaches Braille.
As for how she’ll react: ‘I’ll jump up and down and say, ‘Yay, I won!’”