Braille is everywhere, but most blind kids can’t read it. A competition hopes to change that

Lynn Wu warms up her finger tips for reading test at Braille Challenge Finals at her home on Saturday, July 11, 2020 in Laguna Niguel, California. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Lynn Wu, a sophomore at Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, is already preparing for this year’s Braille Challenge regionals. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Rachel Heuser, left, a retired teacher of the visually blind, gives a festive welcome to Lynn Wu when she arrives at her home to give Braille Challenge Finals test. Residence on Saturday, July 11, 2020 in Laguna Niguel, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES — The challenger sat alone at a square folding table in the center of her teacher’s immaculate living room, stockinged feet whispering against the plush, white carpet, hands poised over a blue Perkins Brailler — something like a manual typewriter crossed with a court reporter’s steno machine. To say the Brailler is loud is an understatement. The force required to emboss Braille paper produces a noise less like typing and more like repeatedly firing a BB gun.