Anyone who’s sat through an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) experiences the tension between what’s obvious and what’s administrative i-dotting. Either some school districts are still unaware of what’s available for students who are blind or otherwise disabled or they are fully equipped. It doesn’t seem there’s abig middle road.
Things that teachers of the visually impaired have counted as essential for a child’s upbringing go beyond the classroom tests and homework to encompass life skills such s orientation and mobility. I can recall transitioning from the Indiana School For The Blind to Noblesville High School and, for whatever reason, we didn’t pursue my life skills part of a core curriculum. While I used the red-tipped mobility cane, I didn’t go after further mobility instruction. Hence, when I transitioned to college during the time many States were adopting right-turn-on-red driving rules, I was thrown for a loop.
More pertinent to this issue is that the team of pros who helped my progress through high school never addressed the need for mobility and other life skills work very much. Today, I’m very thankful that more certified rehabilitation teachers for the blind and teachers of the visually impaired are more aware of the total package that goes into a blind student’s trek through school with sighted peers.
With this in mind, this proposed bill of rights for a blind or VI student’s education makes a lot of sense. Not only does it show the link between student, parents, and school. It shows the needed assistance from others who have experience with teaching people with varying disabilities. If this bill of rights were to be accepted formally or informally by State government and rehabilitation agencies, the allotment of funds would allow for more districts to contract with orientation and mobility specialists and daily living skills instructors. The social work of wrapping around a student could become easier and the transition from high school to college and then onto gainful employment might be more achievable. Barriers to social acceptance for people who are blind or visually impaired might fall more quickly.
Take a look at these rights and spread the word.