Below are answers to a few of our most commonly asked questions. Is your question not listed? Feel free to contact a member of our team.
Where do I start?
Since our founding in 1829, we’ve helped thousands of parents through difficult and overwhelming situations. Chances are we’ve encountered the challenge you are facing. Contact us and someone will get back to you within one business day.
Will my child have friends at Perkins?
Yes. Every child needs a friend and children with visual impairment are no different. At Perkins, your child will have a chance to be themselves, and to be surrounded by peers who share and understand their disability. Perkins is known for helping students develop socially and many of our students create strong friendships that endure even after they leave Perkins.
What are my rights as a parent?
Our staff is well versed in parental rights as they relate to your child’s education and we are happy to answer any questions or discuss areas of concern with you. As the parent of a son or daughter with special needs, perhaps your most important right is the right to a free appropriate public education for your child. You can read detailed descriptions of your parental rights in “A Parent’s Guide to Special Education,” a free online publication produced by the Massachusetts Department of Education and The Federation for Children with Special Needs.
How do I communicate with my school district?
Your school district and your child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) team are actively working to evaluate your child and determine the best educational path for them. As a parent, it is important for you to be involved in this process and be able to communicate openly with both parties. We are happy to be a part of the conversation and discuss ways that Perkins School for the Blind may be able to help.
Do I need an advocate? If so, how do I find one?
If you’re wondering whether you need an advocate, chances are you feel something is not going well with your child’s IEP, or your child may need more attention in areas of concern. Advocates attend meetings with you and are trained to help guide you through the education process while helping you understand your child’s IEP. They are trained to understand the educational system and often see solutions that may not be obvious. We can help direct you toward public information regarding advocacy if you request it. A helpful starting point is the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Special Education webpage, which includes a guide to special education advocacy and a list of advocacy organizations. The American Foundation for the Blind Family Connect website also features a helpful guide for parents.
Contact us directly if you have questions about how to hire an advocate.
What resources should I be utilizing?
At Perkins, we have vast resources to help you understand and navigate the issues you are facing as the parent of a child who is blind or has low vision. Whether you need products to assist your child, support groups, information about blindness or details about our programs, we are available to help. Our website is our online resource center, and you are always welcome to call or visit us on campus to speak with our experts in person.
Is my child’s IEP adequate?
As a parent you have the right to question the IEP, and to ask questions about the program set up for your child. Your school district uses the limited resources it has to give your child the best possible outcomes. If you feel something is not quite right, or certain needs are not being met, you should feel comfortable expressing your concerns to the IEP team. If you’re not satisfied with your child’s IEP, Perkins experts can help you determine what gaps, if any, need to be addressed, and offer options that may help your child reach his or her full potential.