The National Federation of the Blind Helped Eric Duffy Know That He Could Be a Blind Dad

By: Eric Duffy

I am from a family of eight. I have four brothers and three sisters, and I am next to the youngest. From an early age I knew that I wanted to have a wife and children. I knew, however, that I did not want nearly as many children as my own parents had, but then most people don’t. While growing up, I didn’t know many blind parents. In the instances where I knew of a blind parent, the other parent was sighted. So I questioned whether I would be able to raise children.

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Just a Mom

By: Melissa Riccobono

I hear, “Wow, you’re amazing! I can’t imagine taking care of one child—let alone three—if I couldn’t see!”

To which I say with a smile, “No. I’m just a mom.”

Melissa and Mark Riccobono sit smiling on a park bench with their children.

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

By Carlton Anne Cook Walker, J.D., M.B.A., M.Ed., Manager of Braille Education Programs for the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute

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.

 

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The Goal of Goals in IEPs

From the Editor:

Carlton Walker, our Manager of Braille Education Programs, writes about the purpose of creating goals in IEPs and why it is important to track them and modify them in accordance with the child's progress. 

 

By Carlton Walker

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.

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The Importance of Keeping Written Records for IEP Meetings

From the Editor:

The fourth entry in our series about Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) contains valuable tips on documentation and why writing things down is so important.

 

By Melissa Riccobono

 

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.

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

From the Editor:

 

Participating in your child's IEP meeting is extremely important to ensure that he or she is set up for success. In the third installment of our blog series on this topic, Melissa Riccobono gives us tips on how to be an active member of the team.

 

By Melissa Riccobono

 

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An Overview of IEP Assessments

From the Editor:

This week, Melissa Riccobono gives us an overview of the different factors and assessments that go into an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for school-aged children. Visit www.nopbc.org for more information.

 

By Melissa Riccobono

In order to craft appropriate goals for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the team needs recent, high quality data. This data needs to cover the child’s current skills, strengths, and FACTOR IN future success.

Here are some things to keep in mind when assessments are administered to, and interpreted for, children who are blind or low vision.  

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It Happens Every Day

From the Editor:

Preparing your family for the back-to-school season can be overwhelming, especially if, along with the ABCs, you have to worry about IEPs. In this post, Melissa Riccobono writes about the all-too-common experience parents of blind children encounter when advocating for the success of their children in the classroom. For more information about parenting resources, you can visit the website of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children at www.nopbc.org.

 

By Melissa Riccobono

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Double the Blessing

From the Editor:

Nikki Jeffords' journey to becoming a parent wasn't easy, but through her persistence she was able to give birth to twin girls. Now, Nikki is a proud mom who is teaching her kids that blindness does not hold her back; she is living the life she wants.    

 

By Nikki Jeffords

Mom:    “You have a college degree, a good job, a great husband, a beautiful home, that should be enough for you!”

Me:        “I seriously doubt anyone ever questioned your decision to become a mother.  Just because I am blind, does not mean I do not have the same hopes, dreams and desires as any other woman.”

 

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Fatherhood

By Dr. Marc Maurer

I have been a father now for more than thirty years, and I remember very well when this condition came upon me. It was mysterious, scary, and joyous. A brand new human being was my responsibility, and I could imagine all of the things that could go wrong. Many of them did.

Our son David came first, and our daughter Dianna came later. Although both my wife and I are blind, our children are sighted, which has led to a number of interesting discussions.

The job of a father is to give support and love to Mom and the new lives that come to the family. Children are extraordinarily demanding, dramatically expensive, and inconvenient. If it weren’t for love, having children would be close to intolerable. However, every moment comes to be worth the trouble because the love exists.

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