When You’re Second Guessing a School Placement or Teacher for Your Child with a Visual Impairment

parents, teachers, and the teenaged student gather around a table for a meeting

Now that school is in session, my hope is that a smooth routine has begun and the chaos of a new school year is behind us all or nearly there.

But what if the chaos shows no signs of relenting? Maybe you’re certain your child who is blind or visually impaired is not receiving adequate services. Perhaps the new school isn’t meeting your communication expectations. Maybe the new-to-you-teacher isn’t ensuring lessons are accessible to your child.

If you are questioning whether or not your child is in the most appropriate school placement and/ or whether or not you’d like to request a different teacher, read on.

While it is possible to change schools or teachers, I suggest doing so after exhausting the following efforts:

  1. School isn’t providing adequate services? Utilizing the strategies within Working as a Team: How to Resolve Differences of Opinion, call a meeting and ensure your child is receiving services based on the recommendations of his or her assessments. (The federally mandated assessments for a child with a visual impairment include a Functional Vision Assessment, Learning Media Assessment, Assistive Technology Assessment, and an Orientation and Mobility Assessment.)
  2. School isn’t meeting your communication expectations? Utilizing strategies for success with your blind child’s educational team, it’s time to problem solve with your blind child’s school.
  3. Teacher isn’t ensuring lessons are accessible? Let’s give him or her the benefit of the doubt; she likely hasn’t had to make lessons accessible for a child who is blind. I recommend creating a document about your child for his or her teacher; include your child’s interests, strengths, sensitivities, learning styles, and functional vision information (how your child best uses any vision). Additionally, talk with your child’s TVI (teacher of students who are visually impaired) about your concerns; the TVI can help the teacher understand accessible teaching strategies and your child’s functional vision.

You’ve got this, Mama or Daddy. You are a strong advocate and will ensure your child is receiving a quality and accessible education.