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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Working with Schools

All parents have a responsibility to establish a working relationship with the schools their children attend. For many, that relationship is quite limited. For you, as parents of a child who is visually impaired, it's likely to involve you in close, ongoing interaction with a team of professionals including:

  • school administrators, classroom teachers
  • teachers of visually impaired students
  • educational planning specialists
  • social workers
  • medical doctors
  • other specialists who can evaluate your child's needs and learning potential and recommend a curriculum to enable your child achieve her or his educational goals

Ideally, the team members will act as advocates for your child. But the foremost advocate will be you. So an important first step is to establish a good relationship with the school your child attends. But you should not be reluctant to let the appropriate people know if you have concerns about your child's needs being met. Schools are required to provide a system or procedures that you and the school administration must follow if you disagree with or have a complaint about the evaluation, placement, or IEP for your child, including:

  • paying for a second evaluation by professionals of your choice

  • setting up a meeting or hearing where an impartial judge—or someone who has no involvement with either you or the school—can listen to both sides of the story and make a decision that is fair to your child and based on his needs

  • telling you what steps you can take if you still are not satisfied, or what steps the school will take if it is not satisfied, including appealing to the state education department

  • keeping your child in her present placement (or if she is just entering school, placing her in a temporary class that you agree to) until the issues are resolved one way or the other

  • not changing your child's educational program (including anything that is written in the IEP) without notifying you and getting your permission

  • giving you a written list or statement of all these procedures, known as your "due process rights," specifying:

    1. How much time you have to challenge a decision or to complete each step
    2. Who can provide you with legal assistance

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