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Blind student from Bastrop makes history while taking the A.C.T.

A student at Bastrop High School is making history. He’s blind and is now the first in the nation to complete the A.C.T. using a unique software called JAWS.
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 6:54 PM CDT
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BASTROP, La. (KNOE) - A junior at Bastrop High School is making history. He’s blind and is now the first in the nation to complete the A.C.T. using a unique software called JAWS. JAWS stands for “Job Access With Speech” and it’s a software program that translates computer text into speech.

Many blind students have tried to take the A.C.T. with JAWS, but Ky’ren Johnson is the only one who’s done it.

“I didn’t even know I was the first one. I thought that was just a regular thing but then when I found out I was like really?!” said Johnson.

Johnson is a role model for visually impaired students across the country, partly because he doesn’t give up.

“If he gets at the end of that sentence reading and he thinks wait what was that, he can go back and re-read it without having to ask you to do it,” said his teacher, Robin Grantham.

Learning to use the text-to-speech software didn’t come easy for Johnson.

“It took us a whole summer to know the buttons and the programs,” said Johnson.

With the help of his teachers and family, Johnson has been able to excel in his studies. His mother, Evon Johnson, is also visually impaired and wants to make sure her son can live independently by taking advantage of resources.

“They have plenty more opportunities that I never got so I’m going to make sure that he gets every opportunity that he can,” said Evon.

As an honor roll student, Johnson has big dreams.

“Well, first is to go to college. After I pass and stuff, and you know, get my master’s degree, find a good stable job and also become a braille teacher so I can help other kids like me,” said Johnson.

Working hard is something Johnson wants to teach other visually impaired people; saying you can do anything you put your mind to.

“I would tell them not to give up on themselves, and they can do exactly what I did with help and good family and friends and teachers around them,” said Johnson.

Johnson was also selected to be a senator for a day at the state capitol and is being considered by a technology company called Freedom Scientific for “student of the month.”

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