Leveraging Technology to Achieve Greater Braille Literacy

I am fond of a blog post entitled Braille Is Not Dead (So Stop Trying to Kill It). The author articulately and systematically discusses the reasons why Braille remains critically important now and into the future

Braille Opens Doors Previously Closed

As a child words meant everything to me. I loved to hear people talk and tell stories. One of the things I liked the best was when people read, but exactly what they were doing both perplexed and amazed me.

Celebrate World Braille Day by Raising Awareness

Each year, January 4 is celebrated as World Braille Day. It marks the birthday of Louis Braille (1809-1852), the French inventor of the reading and writing code for the blind.

Braille Literacy: Success for Everyone

My son Nicholas was born into this world with a bit of difficulty to say the least. The hows and whys are not as important as the journey that Nicholas and my family have been on since April 2006.

What I Learned at NFB Youth Slam

I am Camryn Gattuso, fifteen years old, and a sophomore at Tuslaw High School in Massillon, Ohio. I have been totally blind since birth and have been educated in a typical public school.

2017 National Federation of the Blind Youth Slam

Far too often blind youth are not provided with the same opportunities as their sighted peers to explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.

The Legal Side of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for Blind and Visually Impaired Students

Overview
Legal Basis
Eligibility
IEP Team and Its Responsibilities
Development of the IEP
After the IEP

Overview

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) provide the basis for special education services and equipment provided to children with disabilities in the United States. For families, IEP meetings can be stressful and overwhelming. Having information about the law upon which IEPs are based can empower parents to advocate for their children with more confidence.

 

The Goal of Goals in IEPs

In preparing for meetings of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team, both parents and educators spend a great deal of time focused upon goals. Understanding the purpose and basis of goals can help all involved achieve this objective.

Federal law requires that IEP documents contain “measurable annual goals,” and directs that these goals should ameliorate the skill deficits a child has in accessing and progressing in the regular curriculum and in other educationally-related areas. 20 U.S.C. section 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(II). In order to determine what the child’s skill needs are, we must have excellent data on (1) the child’s present levels of achievement, and (2) the requirements of the regular education curriculum. In other words, if we don’t know where we are or where we are headed, our journey has little chance of success.

The Importance of Keeping Written Records for IEP Meetings

What is the purpose of your upcoming meeting? What has been going well? What needs to change? These are three questions you should ask yourself before each IEP meeting for your child. It is essential to know what things you want to accomplish and to be able to steer the meeting in the direction you need it to go and avoid being sidetracked by other topics or concerns. I have found the best way to accomplish this is to write things down ahead of time, make sure my points are as clear as possible, and to share my writing with the IEP team. Writing things down helps in the following ways.

  • It gives you a chance to think about what you want to accomplish at each meeting.

  • It gives you the opportunity to develop arguments for why you believe what you want should be put into place.

A Member of the Team: Playing an Active Role on Your Blind Child’s IEP Team

Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings can feel overwhelming. Seated around the table are members of the team—a teacher of blind students, the classroom teacher, and the IEP team chair person. There may be an orientation and mobility specialist, speech pathologist, school psychologist, school administrator, special education director, physical therapist, and occupational therapist as well. Then, of course, there is you—the parent. Surrounded by all of these “experts” it can be easy to feel intimidated, especially if you are new to the IEP process. However, you are at the table for a reason. You are an expert as well—an expert on your child. You are your child’s first teacher, and you have just as much to contribute as anyone else on the team. Don’t sell yourself short! Here are some tips for taking full advantage of your status as a team member.

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