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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
10-year-old Toledo student is heading to L.A. to take part in a national
Ballard is representing Ohio as one of 12 children his age who qualified across
the country and parts of Canada, but this isn't an ordinary completion. Jalen
is blind, and this isn't the first time he's headed to the National Braille
was born with bilateral microphthalmia and cataracts," Jalen's mother Michelle
Ballard said. "So his eyes were really small, and he had cataracts."
has extremely limited vision, so Braille is how Jalen reads, writes and does
first year he took [the National Braille Challenge] was when he was a second
grader, and he placed as a top 12, so we've been going ever since," Michelle
said. "Last year, he actually came in third place!"
says the challenge involves several different tests. They are timed, and can
range from translating audio to written Braille, or proofreading. It's an
accomplishment to attend, but for Jalen, it's not just about the competition.
I admit that I don't look forward to the actual test itself, but seeing my
friends and having a vacation out in California," he said. "I just try my