Hi everyone! I’m super excited to share a new segment on Navigating Blindness called Hindsight 20/20 which will feature parents of blind and visually impaired (B/VI) individuals who have agreed to answer 20 questions with hindsight. My hope is that their stories will encourage us parents who are still heads-down in the day-to-day thick of raising our children and advocating for their educational needs.
These interviews will each be very unique because blindness is a spectrum and each child, parent, and family has different situations, goals, and expectations. As parents, we need to educate ourselves and consider the foundations’ advice, the doctors’ advice, the teachers’ advice and so on (the list of people weighing in on our children’s lives seems endless) but, ultimately, we are our children’s strongest advocates. We are responsible for providing the tools and guidance necessary for them to grow into adults who advocate for themselves in this big diverse world.
Join me in welcoming Jill Richmond as she shares her journey with her oldest son Aaron. Let’s navigate blindness, together.
Continue reading “Hindsight 20/20 Featuring Jill Richmond”
Hello there – It’s Pamela dropping in from The Blind Thistle! I’ve been invited as a guest blogger here on Navigating Blindness. I will be sharing my tips and suggestions on how to make the home a better space to navigate for the Visually-Impaired (VI).
I ‘met’ Kim (the lovely woman behind the Navigating Blindness blog) through Instagram and we hit it off from the start. Her son and I share the same eye disease, Retinitis pigmentosa (RP). While her son’s diagnosis was made a few years back, I have been dealing with my RP for well into 40 years now. Continue reading “KnowledgeABLE featuring Pamela from The Blind Thistle: Finding Your Way in the Chaos”
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”
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.”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
As our son’s vision diminished our world was expanding to include Retinal Specialists, Orientation & Mobility (O&M) instructors and Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI).
We were totally new to this world of visual impairments and had no idea how our son would be able to continue to thrive in school. Continue reading “The First Steps”