Educational Advocacy

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Education for Students with Blindness or Visual Impairments

These web resources guide parents in understanding the intricacies of special education regulations and procedures, and advocating for the unique educational needs of their children who are blind or visually impaired.

Full-Text Articles

A Parent Primer on Special Education Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Definitions
Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center
A useful guide through the alphabet soup of educational terms and abbreviations. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

The Blind Child In The Regular Elementary Classroom
"Future Reflections," (1996) National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Former president of New Jersey Parents of Blind Children provides detailed advice and recommendations to general education teachers.

Braille Requirements in the Law
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Explains the requirements of the braille instruction provision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Educating Blind and Visually Impaired Students
Policy Guidance Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
This is the full text of this Notice of Policy Guidance, as printed in the Federal Register, Vol 65(111).  This document is in plain text and is 20 pages long.

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
The American Foundation for the Blind's website is a good place to start for parents and teachers who want to understand what their child needs to learn in order to succeed in school and in life. Outlines the educational needs and rights and development of children who are blind, from infancy to the college years.

Future Reflections, 32(2): Special Issue on Advocacy
National Federation of the Blind, 2013
Audio and print articles on IEPs, Education Law, Self-Advocacy, and NFB Activity in this area.

The IEP Process
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Advice for parents on helping to create and understanding the importance of their child's Individual Education Program, assembled by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, associated with NFB.

Visually Impaired Students in Secondary School
DVI Quarterly, 50(1), 2004. Center for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Superintendent Phil Hatlen provided this introduction to the D.V.I. Quarterly in 2004 on core and extended core curricula.

What Schools May Not Know About a Student with a Visual Impairment
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This article by a family specialist is written for parents to provide them with expectations and talking points for designing and IEP.
This article is also available in Spanish.

Web-Based Organizations and Resources

Advocating for your Childs Needs By Diana Autin
Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind
In this webcast, Diana presents family companion guides that include fact sheets, mini-guides and an IEP Meeting Checklist. These materials provide a framework to support the development of meaningful, appropriate programming for students with deafblindness.

Blind Babies Foundation
The "Resources for Parents and Professionals" section has information about the Babies Count National Registry, an advocacy and educational planning tool for children with visual impairment.

Core curriculum: Improving access for students with vision impairments
A list of suggested accessibility adaptations compiled by the Statewide Vision Resource Centre (Victoria, Australia).

Disability Advocacy through Media (online course)
Towson University
Towson University (MD) offers an online course to introduce advocates to how to use traditional and online media advocacy techniques to build awareness of disability issues. The course uses readings and media resources to guide participants through 12 self-paced units. Certificate of Completion is available.

Educational Advocacy
Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind
Educational Advocacy is a self-directed tutorial that address topics of educational advocacy for parents, educators, and policy makers. Continuing education credits are available.

National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities
TSBVI provides this portal to several documents related to the National Agenda.  Links include the agenda document in ASCII braille or Megadots, policy guidance for educators and parents, and an archive of the agenda's creation.

National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI)
Provides information and support to parents and advocates for the educational needs of children with blindness or visual impairments.

National Association of Blind Students (NABS)
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
"For over 30 years this national organization of blind students has provided support, information, and encouragement to blind college and university students."

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
A national "source of information on: disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth, IDEA, which is the law authorizing special education, No Child Left Behind (as it relates to children with disabilities), and research-based information on effective educational practices."

National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS)
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Supports and promotes the teaching of science and math to students who are blind, including technical support, participatory programs, development of teaching materials, and mentoring.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS)
U.S. Department of Education
OSERS provides “a wide array of supports to parents and individuals, school districts and states in three main areas: special education, vocational rehabilitation and research.”

PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights)
A national resource center whose mission is "to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents." The organization is especially knowledgeable about assistive technology and computers in the classroom

Tips for Teachers of Braille Reading Students
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
(Developed by the R.I.M. Project, Reducing Isolation in the Mainstream)
10 easy "shoulds" for keeping braille readers on track with the print-reading class.

Tips for Working with Blind Students
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Tips for general educators who are preparing their classroom for a braille reader

Unique IEP Requirements for Students who are Visually Impaired (Missouri)
Southeast Missouri State University shares this breakdown of state requirements for IEPs.  Your own state's requirements may vary; these guidelines can help design IEPs for your children or students.