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Celebrating Braille Literacy

Everyone enjoys a birthday party. But SSD student Ali Kricho threw one for someone she’s never met.

Last month, Ali, with the help of others, hosted Braille Fun Day to celebrate the 204th birthday of Louis Braille—the man who created the writing system that bears his name. The party was held at Sperreng Middle School in the Lindbergh School District and was attended by more than 50 of Ali’s classmates, along with Sperreng and SSD staff members.

“We like to do something for Louis Braille’s birthday each year,” said Sperreng librarian Amy Sears. “It gives us a chance to share the materials and adaptations that we have.”

As the party hostess, Ali, who is blind and uses Braille to read, opened the event with a presentation about Braille’s life and the history of his writing system. Students learned the basics of how to read Braille, and were given riddles to solve using Braille letters to answer the questions.

Students had the opportunity to use a Braille writer, and experimented on the machines that resemble typewriters, but with far fewer keys.

“I like helping kids with the Braille writers,” Ali said after working with some of her classmates on how to type out their names.

Students also were able to view Braille textbooks, playing cards, watches, and other items that students might not have realized were different for those with visual impairments. For instance, an average math textbook replicated in Braille would consist  of multiple volumes and would be shipped in several large boxes.

Sperreng principal Dr. Mark Eggers presented Ali with a certificate for being an ambassador for Braille literacy. When asked if she believes she’s an ambassador for Braille, Ali said, “I hope so. It means I know a lot about it.”

And what’s a birthday party without cake?

Students were treated to frosted cupcakes, and were given M&Ms to use as Braille letters to top their cupcakes.

“Ali has a magnetic personality,” said her teacher Cathy Kendall. “The other students really like her and they want to support her and learn more.”

More Resources About Braille

Ali Kricho
Ali Kricho

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Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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