Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Advocacy Academy

Parents often reach out to the National Federation of the Blind in need of advocacy and support with their child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Parents can easily feel overwhelmed by the IEP process that is required to establish special education services for their child. There is currently a limited number of people that have the necessary knowledge to assist these families. 

In order to address the extreme shortage of knowledgeable parent advocates for blind and low-vision students across the nation, the National Federation of the Blind, with support from the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), The Lavelle Fund for the Blind, and the Professional Development Research and Institute on Blindness (PDRIB) is offering an intensive IEP training opportunity. We invite interested parents and blind adults from every state to apply.

The goals of this training are to:

  • Equip participants to serve as volunteer advocates in preparation for and/or attendance at IEP meetings for blind/low-vision students
  • Prepare participants to train others as advocates (teaching materials will be provided)

Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of education law
  • Learn how to develop a thorough and robust IEP
  • Acquire advocacy strategies in order to empower parents
  • Advocate for students and families
  • Assist in creating the strongest possible IEPs for blind students

Expectations for selected applicants:

  • Be a blind adult or parent of a blind or low-vision child
  • Agree to attend the entire training and obtain knowledge of the IEP process as it relates to the education of blind students 
  • Agree to attend virtual post training refreshers at least twice a year 
  • Agree to provide IEP support to families either in person or virtually during the 2024 National Federation of the Blind convention
  • Agree to serve as a volunteer advocate for blind students and their families by collaborating with local blind leaders
  • Agree to conduct at least one training within the next year to train additional advocates in your state, or neighboring state, on the IEP process as it relates to the education of blind students and how to advocate for blind students during the IEP process. Training materials will be provided by the project. 

Important notes:

  • The training will take place in person in Baltimore, Maryland at the National Federation of the Blind, May 30-June 2, 2024. 
  • Travel, food, and lodging costs will be paid for by this project.  

Deadline for application submission is March 21, 2024.
Accepted candidates will be notified by March 29, 2024.  

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