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”

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”

Special Education Mediation Experience

It’s been 5 days since our 8-hour mediation proceeding with the school district. (Yes, 8 long, emotionally draining hours.) The mediation was in response to a formal complaint we filed in September. Our allegations were that the school was not providing a Free Appropriate Public Education and was not upholding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in the areas of Accessibility and IEP Implementation.

I’m writing this article to assist other parents of blind children who are facing these issues. I hope to convey the process as we experienced it, as well as the immense emotional toll it took on our family. Continue reading “Special Education Mediation Experience”

Summit Adventure

Kai turned 16 in August and can’t drive because he’s legally blind. We wanted to mark the occasion by granting him a new level of independence – an independence he’s worked incredibly hard to earn.  So when we read about Erik Weihenmayer’s No Barriers Summit in NYC, we thought it sounded like the ideal place for Kai to stretch his wings. Continue reading “Summit Adventure”

As Featured on Life After Sight Loss

It’s Fall and I’ll be super honest, I want to hibernate. I’ve been in a self-imposed cave trying to gather my emotional resources to go through the mediation process against our local school system.  (Click here to read more about the decision to file the complaint with the GADOE.) Conflict resolution is hard and some days it I feel overwhelmed and allow myself to have a full-blown pity party.  Other days I duck and cover and simply stay in and off of social media.  Other days I remember to take care of myself and eat well, meditate, paint and swim. Today, I stuck my head out of my cave long enough to re-connect with people in the sight loss community. And, I was so encouraged to listen to a podcast by my new friend Derek Daniels at Life After Sight Loss. Continue reading “As Featured on Life After Sight Loss”

No Barriers

If you are part of the Visually Impaired community, chances are that you’ve heard of Erik Weihenmayer.  He is widely known for becoming the first blind man to summit Everest and he went on to complete the Seven Summits (summiting the highest peak on each continent). Our whole family has read his latest book about kayaking the Colorado River. He’s co-founder of the No Barriers movement which helps people to overcome barriers and live a life of purpose. The No Barriers motto is, “What’s Within You is Stronger Than What’s in Your Way.”  Click here to watch a great video about Kai & No Barriers. Continue reading “No Barriers”