Got Parent Support? My Advice to Parents Is Get Parent Support
I just received my acceptance letter from Family Café where I will be presenting “20/20 Hindsight – Clearing the Air on Vision.” Many emotions came flooding back to me as we began our journey in 2007 into the world of visual impairment/blindness for Torrie, our younger daughter. For several years, we were clueless on everything! My husband and I attended several IEP meetings, all without knowledge of the IEP process, and more importantly, having no knowledge of the educational impact of the visual impairment on Torrie! I am sure our history is not exclusive to us….so I am sharing our journey.
ATorrie was enrolled in the Blind Babies program through the Division of Blind Services (DBS) and in 2007, our family attended a Blind Babies Camp, hosted by DBS and the FL. Lions. That was the first time we met other families from around the state who also had kiddos (under 3) who were blind or visually impaired. It was interesting that we all (10 of us) had the same experience with our pediatric ophthalmologists – we were told “legally blind” or “blind” but there were no resources given to any of us! Four young adults and their parents spoke to us, and all 4 affirmed their necessity for, and dependence on, Braille. Unfortunately, there was no guidance given at the camp on what the IDEA law stated regarding Braille. David and I had the “a-ha” moments that Torrie should learn print and Braille to read, but we had NO idea on how to proceed for Torrie to be a dual-medium reader!
So, after several IEP meetings, I reached out to one of the organizations for vision professionals, some who were blind or visually impaired themselves, on children learning print and Braille. I brought my findings to my IEP meeting. Needless to say, that meeting tanked – and FAST! As a parent, I was not being heard and my request for Braille was negated to the point that I should have stopped the meeting and left. That’s when I put my “big girl panties” on and searched for assistance with the IEP process and blindness. And so the phone calls began…
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