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”

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”

As Featured on Bold Blind Beauty

Navigating Blindness was featured on Bold Blind Beauty! The blog owner, Stephanae McCoy, is a blind woman who loves style. She is a businesswoman, blogger, and abilities crusader who breaks the myth “blind people can’t be fashionable.” I find Stephanae to be a powerhouse in the blind and visually impaired community and I’m grateful to have our story featured: Continue reading “As Featured on Bold Blind Beauty”

The Advocacy Tightrope

In student advocacy, partnering with the IEP team is a key concept. However, some days it feels impossible to straddle the divide between my child’s accessibility needs and the school’s ability to provide timely, accessible materials. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I ask myself:

  • What exactly is the issue?
  • What does his team believe is the best answer?
  • What does my child believe is necessary?
  • Is “good enough” okay, or will this problem seriously impact his future?

Continue reading “The Advocacy Tightrope”

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”

Blindness and the Sixteenth Birthday

Last week was Kai’s 16th birthday.  I remember when we first heard the words “your son is going blind” and the feelings of dread and loss that swept over me when I realized he would not be able to drive.  It’s been 6 years since diagnosis, but right now we are feeling the diagnosis and loss acutely — like a fresh wound. Continue reading “Blindness and the Sixteenth Birthday”