Pop-Up IEP

8. "Don’t worry, she’s doing fine. It’s normal for children who are blind to be a year or two behind."

Why is this statement problematic?

Blindness or visual impairment itself does not cause children to be behind in academic areas. Academic achievement can be affected, however, by circumstances such as low expectations and not having books and materials in accessible formats. On the other hand, achievement can be positively affected by having age-appropriate expectations, accessible materials, good training for teachers and paraprofessionals, early intervention, and consistency between home and school. If your child is behind, a careful assessment of all areas including the child’s prior learning experiences and opportunities can help identify the reasons why. It can be helpful to consider the following questions: Have tactile learning opportunities been limited? Is large print being used when braille might make the child competitive? Have there been enough orientation and mobility instruction and practice? Have expectations been appropriately high at home and at school? Work with your child’s teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVI) to find answers to these questions.

Possible Responses for Parents/Advocates

  1. "Let's keep our focus on how Autumn's IEP goals compare to the state standards for eighth grade. How can we ensure that the goals and services we are talking about today will help her achieve what the state standards require of all eighth graders?"
  2. “The assessment shows that Sammi is about two years behind in his academics, even though everyone agrees that he should be able to keep up with his class. Let’s put together a remediation plan with goals for each month so that we make sure he catches up in every subject."
  3. “I’m concerned we are not expecting as much from Khalid as he is capable of. I admit that I think we have not given him as much independence at home as may be possible, but I’d like to change that and see if Khalid improves. I’d like the bar to be raised at school too. We really need to work together on this.”

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