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A New Way to See

The following post was originally written by Kim Owens for FamilyConnect Newsletter:

At the age of 10, my son, Kai, began to lose his vision to an aggressive form of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). My dreams for his life were shattered with the doctor’s words, “blindness, no known cure…” I was blind-sided by his diagnosis and could see only darkness. Continue reading “A New Way to See”

The Process of Letting Go

After several months wholly focused on resolving the instructional materials issues at my son’s high school, it was time to turn our attention towards the future. We opened a  Vocational Rehabilitation case for my son and met with the local university’s disability services director regarding dual enrollment. Both meetings were emotionally draining as I realized that the process of advocating for my son’s needs in the educational and career environments will always be a challenge.

Now that my 16-year-old son is fully transitioned to Braille, Nemeth, cane usage and assistive technology he understands what he needs in order to be successful. He also understands that he is the best person to quickly identify challenges and attempt to solve issues through clear communication. I’m so proud of the growth he’s experienced over the last 6 years of vision loss. I’m learning to step back and let him lead. As a mom who has fought daily for his needs over the last six years this “letting go” is very emotional.  Continue reading “The Process of Letting Go”

Unique Braille Gift Idea

I’m excited to introduce you to Lucky Touch Braille Fortune Cookie Company! The company is run by students at the California School for the Blind.  The students are involved in every aspect of the company’s operations. And as far as I know, they are the only company in the world creating braille fortune cookies! WHAT A COOL IDEA!

Lucky Touch Braille Fortune Cookie Company is run by a student board of directors at the California School for the Blind.  They make decisions about prices, pack cookies and sell cookies at events and by mail.  They also interview candidates for open positions on the board and select new members. — Judith Lesner, Board Advisor

About 2 weeks before Valentine’s day I reached out to them to place an order for 50 braille fortune cookies. I chose “plain” and “standard uncontracted braille” but they also offer chocolate dipped, contracted braille and customized messages.  The cookies arrived individually wrapped and in perfect shape — not a single broken cookie! Continue reading “Unique Braille Gift Idea”

As Featured on Victoria Claire’s New Beyond Vision Website

Check it out: Navigating Blindness and Kai Owens were featured on Victoria Claire’s New Beyond Vision Website

Victoria Claire developed this site to inspire, support and advocate for the VI community and to change the public’s perception of the blind and visually impaired. Vicky is a talented speaker, sculptor, skater and surfer and, like Kai, she is legally blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa. She designs and makes amazing skateboards too! 
Through acceptance, adaptivity, and accessibility there is an amazing life for every visually impaired person. – Victoria Claire

Continue reading “As Featured on Victoria Claire’s New Beyond Vision Website”

Breathe, Mama Bear, Breathe

Last week was the first week my legally blind son was back in school since the holidays. It was also the week that the action items in our formal mediation agreement were to be implemented by his high school.

The amount of internal stress I felt about his return to school took me by surprise. My fight-or-flight instinct kicked-in keeping my muscles tense, my breathing shallow, my mind jumpy and making sleep elusive. Continue reading “Breathe, Mama Bear, Breathe”

Be Aware: Signs Ahead.

Signs. They are everywhere. Sometimes they alert us to danger, sometimes they send us on a detour. Our sign was created specifically to create a safe space for our blind son to traverse his high school parking lot filled with student drivers.

A couple of weeks ago in a Facebook forum for parents of blind kids, a parent asked how other people handle school drop off/pick up. I read several responses and decided to post a picture of our solution: a sign.  Continue reading “Be Aware: Signs Ahead.”

Preparing for Battle: Support & Organization

Hi friends, This is my final post in a 3-part series about my family’s Special Education Formal Complaint and Mediation proceeding. If you are a new visitor to this blog, I’d recommend starting with the previous posts: Special Education Mediation Experience and  Formal Complaint & Mediation Processes Explained. Continue reading “Preparing for Battle: Support & Organization”

Formal Complaint & Mediation Processes Explained

As discussed in my previous post we filed a Formal Complaint against our school system. This post will give an overview of what I learned about the complaint and mediation processes.

In early September, I downloaded the “formal complaint form” from our state’s education website. The document was four pages and asked a series of questions about the issues, and how we believed they could be resolved.  The Formal Complaint only covered issues that occurred within a 1-year time period. Near the bottom of the form, there was a question asking if we would be willing to mediate?  I selected “yes” thinking that I wanted to do everything possible to come to a resolution for my son. I submitted the complaint along with 20 pages of detailed records outlining the issues along with two recommendations for resolution.  Then I waited. Continue reading “Formal Complaint & Mediation Processes Explained”