Below is Holly Miller's story about fighting for her blind son, Hank's, use of Braille.
On August 18, 2008, I sent an email to the special services director of our school district, suggesting that our son, Hank, might need Braille. Hank was getting ready to enter second grade and he had enough vision to see large print, but eye fatigue limited the length of time he was able to read.
The school personnel and the professionals at the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NJCBVI) were immoveable. They told us that Hank was a sighted reader, that he was better off as part of the sighted world.
As the months--then years--went by, we emphasized repeatedly that our concern was Hank's inability to handle sustained reading tasks but we were assured that sustained reading wasn't a problem.
By this time our story had caught the attention of Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). With the might of the NFB behind us, we filed for due process in June 2011. On July 10, 2012, nearly four years after we made our initial request for Braille, Hank had his first official Braille lesson. He is such a smart, inquisitive boy, and it was terrible to watch him avoid reading because it hurt his eyes.
We cannot begin to express how deeply thankful we are to everyone involved in Hank's case. Even though we knew we were right, we did not have the resources to prove it on our own. Without the NFB behind us, Hank never would have gotten Braille instruction. It is our greatest hope that other families can use our case as an example with their schools, avoiding the need to bring legal action.