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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

What Is the National Agenda?

National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those With Multiple Disabilities

DID YOU KNOW THAT:

  • Sometimes months, even years, go by between a child's diagnosis of visual impairment and a referral to educational services?
  • Blind and visually impaired children often receive an inferior education because there are not enough specialized teachers?
  • The core curriculum needed by visually impaired students is not available to most of them?
  • Often visually impaired students are placed in existing and easily available educational settings without regard for the setting that would best meet their needs?

These and other serious issues are about to change, because:

  • Parents and professionals have committed themselves to a National Agenda that will revolutionize educational services for blind and visually impaired students by the year 2000.

THE NATIONAL AGENDA for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments Including Those with Multiple Disabilities is a national project aimed at achieving eight priority goals for improving the quality of educational services for children and youths with visual impairments. The National Agenda project has benefited from an unprecedented grassroots effort by parents, professionals, and consumers since the fall of 1993. At the heart of the project are eight priority goal areas. Through the leadership of National Goal Leader Organizations, which represent specialized schools, agencies, and membership organizations, educational strategies will be refined further and necessary policy steps defined at the community level to ensure implementation of the eight goals.

The National Agenda document, published by AFB Press, details the programmatic and policy framework necessary to empower communities across the United States to improve educational opportunities for children and youths who are blind or visually impaired equal to those received by their sighted peers. The document's message is intended for school board members, parents of children with visual impairments, personnel preparation programs, public policymakers, educators, rehabilitation specialists, and consumers. The National Agenda document reflects the collaborative efforts and shared hopes of parents, professionals and consumers across the United States.

We urge you to join us in achieving the goals of the National Agenda.

NATIONAL AGENDA GOAL STATEMENTS

  1. Students and their families will be referred to an appropriate education program within 30 days of identification of a suspected visual impairment.
  2. Policies and procedures will be implemented to ensure the right of all parents to full; participation and equal partnership in the education process.
  3. Universities, with a minimum of one full-time faculty member in the area of visual impairment, will prepare a sufficient number of educators of students with visual impairments to meet personnel needs throughout the country.
  4. Service providers will determine caseloads based on the needs of students and will require ongoing professional development for all teachers and orientation and mobility instructors.
  5. Local education programs will ensure that all students have access to a full array of placement options.
  6. Assessment of students will be conducted, in collaboration with parents, by personnel having expertise in the education of students with visual impairments.
  7. Access to developmental and educational services will include an assurance that instructional materials are available to students in the appropriate media and at the same time as their sighted peers.
  8. Educational and developmental goals, including instruction, will reflect the assessed needs of each student in all areas of academic and disability-specific core curricula.

Additional information on the National Agenda may be found at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Website, www.tsbvi.edu/agenda/.

Co-Chairs:

Donna Stryker
15554 Space Murals Lane
Las Cruces, NM 88011
Phone:505/373-2596
Fax: 505/524-8080
Email: ForeverD@zianet.com

Kathleen M. Huebner, Ph.D.
Associate Dean
Graduate Studies in Vision Impairment
Pennsylvania College of Optometry
8360 Old York Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027
Phone: 215 780-1360
Fax: 215-780-1357
E-Mail: Kathyh@pco.edu

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