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July 2, 2013

Getting a feel for it: Georgetown boy competes in national Braille competition

GEORGETOWN —

Ian Receveur is one of the country’s best when it comes to reading without his eyes.

The 7-year-old boy competed in the 13th annual Braille Challenge in Los Angeles on June 22. Out of 1,000 contestants in two countries, Receveur was just one of 60 to go to the national competition and just one of two in his age group. He may not have placed in the competition, but his mother, Marie, said he’s ready to train even harder for next year.

“He had a wonderful time; he’s just a little bummed that he didn’t win,” Marie said. “There are some kids in the competition who have been there every year since first grade. Some of them, this was their 12th time being there.”

At 3 months old, Ian was diagnosed with X-linked juvenile retinoschisis, a noncorrectable condition that causes the retina to split into layers. Marie said his left eye was removed when he was 2 years old and can only see shadows in the right eye.

At the age of 4, she said he began reading children’s books written in Braille, then followed with using a Perkins Brailler — a machine that allows writing in Braille. She said one of the classroom aides in Ian’s class, Patrice Rutledge, helped him learn Braille, and also helped him prepare for competitions.

Marie said in spite of the difficulties Ian’s had with his blindness, he’s worked hard to keep up.

“I am so proud of Ian,” Marie said. “He has had such a long, hard road and has been so adaptable with a good, positive outlook along the way. I’m thrilled that he gets this kind of recognition for what he’s accomplished. He’s worked so very hard and overcome a lot of things in his life. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

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