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Don’t Leave Our Kids Behind CTEBVI Conference - April 2010 Presented by: Diana M. Dennis, TLC EIP Anne Bell, TLC EIP Maria Zavala, Parent Advocate Jeri.

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Presentation on theme: "Don’t Leave Our Kids Behind CTEBVI Conference - April 2010 Presented by: Diana M. Dennis, TLC EIP Anne Bell, TLC EIP Maria Zavala, Parent Advocate Jeri."— Presentation transcript:

1 Don’t Leave Our Kids Behind CTEBVI Conference - April 2010 Presented by: Diana M. Dennis, TLC EIP Anne Bell, TLC EIP Maria Zavala, Parent Advocate Jeri Hart, Blind Babies Foundation

2 Remember that Education starts at home! Experiential Learning Direction - daily schedule Understanding Caring Active Learning Teaching Interesting Observation Never lose hope Know your rights, Educate yourself, go with your gut, ask questions. Your child’s education will be most effective if you, the parent, have an active role in the process.

3 Develop Team Work – Educators, Specialists & Parents Build & maintain positive relationships Maintain close contact Communicate a sense of teamwork Neither intimidate or be intimidated See others’ perspectives Keep expectations high but realistic Ask questions – you shouldn’t have to wait until an IFSP or IEP; team work is more than an annual or semi annual meeting.

4 Know that Collaborations Can & Should Happen Vision Impairment Specialists can collaborate with specialists from other programs. Parents can help by asking for collaboration & keep communication open between you and … School Districts Private Infant Programs CCS – Medical Therapy Units Medical Professionals – Pediatric Ophthalmologists, Neurologists, Pediatricians.

5 Know the Systems General Education System Special Education System Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and Regional Center Systems California Children’s Services (CCS) Medical System Community Support Systems

6 The Maze of Early Intervention and Transitions into Preschool Initially you may have one or two people come to your home, some families start with 3-4 and then by the time they have left the Early Start System they have met anywhere from individuals who have come to help?? Are they helping? Sometimes, and sometimes they are adding frustration, confusion, lack of coordination, poor communication, and the family is left feeling lost. As a parent, know what you are entitled to & how best to advocate for your child. Remember, you know your child better then anyone.

7 READ It’s never too early to read to a child, a child who is blind or visually impaired is no different. Reading is critical to brain development and developing language based on real experiences. Making sense of print, braille or symbolic representation requires careful consideration. To help develop this meaning making – use songs, book bags or story boxes, tactile books, and more. Children begin by tasting books, feeling books, throwing books and eventually looking or touching books. Make time for Story Time it’s critical for your child’s development. Think of your child’s best learning style, auditory, tactile or visual and foster their interest in books.

8 Braille Instruction An IEP team is obligated to assume even before an evaluation is conducted—that braille instruction will be a necessary service for the blind or visually impaired child. This is an important shift from past educational practices when it was typically assumed that children with some usable vision would read print and only be provided with braille instruction as the last resort.

9 Consideration of Special Factors Here is the pertinent section from the IDEA reauthorization of 2004: Section 614 (d)(3)(B)(iii) (B) Consideration of Special Factors – The IEP Team shall – (iii) in the case of a child who is blind or visually impaired, provide for instruction in braille and the use of braille unless the IEP Team determines, after an evaluation of the child’s reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media (including an evaluation of the child’s future needs for instruction in braille or the use of braille), that instruction in braille or the use is not appropriate for the child.

10 For school-age children: Ask About Expanded Core Curriculum and Know What it Includes Compensatory Skills (Braille; listening skills, handwriting skills; abacus) Orientation & Mobility Skills Social Skills Independent Living Skills Recreation and Leisure Skills Career Education Assistive Technology Visual Efficiency Skills (NA-1995)

11 Parent Perspective Maria’s story A Need for Low Vision resources, thinking of ways to make things more accessible. Strategies that parents can try to make the educational system a more successful one.

12 Know who is serving your child Feel good about the services you are getting? If not, why not? Ask questions If you are not satisfied with the services ask yourself “Why not?” If your child is not making progress or you are not agreeing with the approach, then find someone who you can talk to (teacher, administrator); If you disagree with the assessment, you have the right to ask for and obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) at public expense.

13 Know your rights, READ them It’s important that you know your rights, and that you know what your child has the right to. It’s important that you agree with the IFSP or IEP that has been put in place and that your child is getting the services they need. Get your team together; if your service coordinator doesn’t include everyone for your IFSP or IEP meeting (you can invite them) or you can ask them to collaborate or facilitate by scheduling or requesting a meeting.

14 CA Department of Education To obtain more information about parental rights or dispute resolution, including how to file a complaint, contact the CA Department of Education, Special Education Division, Procedural Safeguards Referral Service, by telephoning

15 Or writing to… California Department of Education Special Education Division Procedural Safeguards Referral Service 1430 N Street, Suite 2401 Sacramento, CA Telephone: FAX:

16 Are our children falling behind? In many instances children who are blind are leaving preschool as the just begin to feel a sense of self and develop a willingness to explore with their hands. They are just a year away from being expected to not only read and write their letters, but to comprehend that these symbols … have meaning. Ask your self, is my child stressed ? If so, is he or she able to learn under these conditions?

17 Avoid or un-learn “learned helplessness” Teach Active Learning Teach Experiential Learning Promote explorations early, never give up and keep your expectations high and realistic. Children with multiple disabilities can thrive and have enriching experiences if the setting is right and conducive to learning. Read to your child, build pre-literacy and literacy skills in the early years

18 Social-Emotional Skills We cannot overlook the importance of our children’s feelings and their social-emotional well being. This may be the most critical stage of development for our children to make progress in all other areas of development. Foster awareness, and read your child’s cues, find ways to alleviate their stress…

19 Resources Extracurricular activities are just as important for your child who is blind or visually impaired as your other children. It’s important to tap into community resources like: Mommy & Me groups, Gymboree classes, dance classes, Story Time at the Library, Swim classes, music classes, Music Together opportunities, Hippo Therapy, Gymnastics. Children’s art or discovery museums. Varied activities can help foster self-awareness & self- esteem, support incidental and experiential learning. Be creative.

20 Questions Contact Us Diana M. Anne Jeri Maria


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