Trailblazing: How do I ask for/renegotiate a CVI Endorsed Teacher?Experts weigh in.

Hello fellow families of glorious children who happen to have CVI!

Remember this from the last blog post?

…At the meeting with the team you are putting together, you have every right to request a CVI Endorsed teacher.  
It will sound weird.
You may be the first person in your school, county, state to do so. 
There will be an awkward pause. 
They will look at you funny.  
When they do, you will wonder whether or not you are
1. crazy 
or
2. asking too much. 

You are neither.

All of this is true.  Challenging your schools and your school systems to recognize and accommodate for CVI is advocating for your child’s quality of life. We are trailblazers.  Pith helmets are optional.

There was a comment after the post, asking for help renegotiating at an IEP for a CVI Endorsed Teacher.  I read the comment a few times.  I was out of my league.  I couldn’t make a dumb joke and tell everyone to “keep on keeping on.”

I have been trying to find the “right” answers to questions like this for years.  I find that each state is different, their systems of government are different and their school systems are different; you get my drift.

Living in a state in which your child has access to

-a diagnosis of CVI

-teachers who are CVI endorsed

and

-schools that recognize the unique needs of children with CVI is RARE.   

Every time my family moves to a new state, the prospect of unraveling the knotty problem of educating a child with vision loss lands at the top of my to-do list.  Who to talk to?  How much experience does the classroom teacher/TVI/aides have?  Has anyone ever heard the letters C,V and I put together before?  How does this state accommodate students with vision loss?  Some states do it better than others.  The list goes on  and on.

I am a parent advocate, but, I am not an expert in the IEP process.  Not even for my own kid.  I hope to be someday.

I am a parent who thinks this CVI situation needs to improve on a national scale.  I am learning and asking a lot of questions.

With this understood, I asked the question “How can I renegotiate for a CVI Endorsed teacher after already having the annual meeting?” with some experts in the field of education.

It is an important question for many families.  Thank you, Christi, for asking it.

There isn’t one answer to this question at this point in our journey.  But, here are the responses I got.

Many thanks to Dr. Julie Durando, Ellen Mazel, Peggy Palmer, and Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy for their time and willingness to help CVI families navigate this bumpy terrain.

Julie Durando, Ed.D., Project Director, Virginia Project for Children and Young Adults with Deaf-Blindness – “The challenge of asking for a CVI Endorsed teacher on an IEP is that Virginia doesn’t recognize the endorsement in any official capacity.

Schools don’t really have a way to require teachers to get something that isn’t recognized as a Virginia certification or endorsement.

Even in the field of VI and Blindness, there is disagreement about which strategies are most effective.  This can make it confusing for administrators when experts in the field don’t agree.

I like to hope that professionals take personal responsibility to learn the skills needed to effectively do their jobs and serve kids well.

The shortage of teachers with VI certification does not make anyone at the state level eager to add stipulations to who can serve in this role.

This is no way unique to Virginia.

It is a national problem.”

Ellen Mazel, CVI Program Manager, Perkins School for the Blind –  “I always say the CVI Range is the only assessment with reliability to look at functional vision for a child with CVI.  The creator of that assessment (Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy) determined that people need to prove competence in its use.

The steps to prove that competence begin with the Endorsement she has created.

There is no one doing an assessment of the Wilson Reading Program who has not gone through extensive training in it’s use.

There is no one doing many kinds of educational testing assessments without going through training.

The CVI Range is no different.”

Peggy Palmer, TVI –  “It’s a bit dicey, of course, to ask for a CVI Endorsed teacher after (I assume) the child already has a TVI.  However, I would go with the argument that with this brain based eye condition, the correct kind of strategies can have a dramatic effect on a child’s brain development.

A person who is CVI endorsed is able to correctly assess the child’s vision, prescribe the best strategies for vision development and provide ongoing assessments as the child’s vision changes.

We are not advocating for our children to make new friends.”

Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy – “My thought would be to reopen the IEP and/or use the content of the IEP to support whether or not the CVI Range was used properly and that present levels, objectives, and accommodations are all incorporated and match the CVI Range Scale.”

This is what I’ve got so far.  It is good to have the insight of experts.  They can provide us with language that can sway school administrators.  Also, this insight can help you with your own advocate, or, as you prepare your own case for advocacy.

We are setting precedents.  Creating change is – like any act of creation – messy, chaotic, and fraught with folks who liked it better before you stuck your nose in it.

But, for children with CVI, where is the fun – the Free and Appropriate Public Education in that?

 

 

 

Published by

CVI Momifesto

CVIMomifesto is a blog dedicated to parent advocacy and community for families of children with Cortical Visual Impairment.

3 thoughts on “Trailblazing: How do I ask for/renegotiate a CVI Endorsed Teacher?Experts weigh in.

  1. Thank you all so much for your valuable time and input! We are heading into Parent-Teacher Conferences in the next two weeks and I am doing a “crash course” myself in trying to learn all I can about Phase III needs. I want to meet with my child’s current (non-CVI endorsed TVI) teacher before I push to reconvene the IEP team.

    I know the instruction he was receiving previously at the Scholl for the Blind was making a difference, but it was also not a CVI endorses teacher. Rather, one who has a lot of experience with a class of mostly CVI kids (the current class is a mix of vision related issues and other issues).

    I’ll keep you posted!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a TVI, I feel fortunate to have a good deal of CVI training. I am in the midst of getting my CVI endorsement. I have taken Dr. Roman’s online course through Perkins. I have read her book all the way through at least four times and refer to it constantly. It is always in my trunk so I have access no matter where I’m teaching on a given day. Most days I feel like I do a very good job for my students who have CVI. However, not all TVIs are in a situation like mine:
    —I work in a district that supports my professional development.
    —I work in a major metro area, so my salary is higher than many of my fellow TVIs.
    —I have worked in the field for over 20 years, so thankfully I can afford to pay for courses, endorsements, books, online content, and training fees.
    —I live in a state with an extremely active professional organization for those in my field. They have had Dr. Roman as their guest several times, so I’ve been lucky enough to see and hear her speak more than once.

    All of this is to say, there are many, many reasons why not all TVIs have official endorsements. If such endorsement is not required for teacher licensing in a given state, schools can’t require teachers to have it as an employment condition. Not every university prep program for TVIs includes thorough training on CVI. Getting training on one’s own is expensive. A first year teacher or a teacher in a rural area on a rural pay scale may not be able to afford to take courses. Most school districts do not pay for or reimburse for graduate study, so educators must pay for their own continuing ed, and that in itself can be a disincentive.

    Please don’t judge too harshly. Rather, if you have more knowledge about CVI than your TVI does, offer to share it. Chances are he or she will be happy to learn about CVI and your child. You may even spur that teacher on to further their own knowledge by simply offering to share yours.

    Thanks for listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tracy, for giving us more perspective. Absolutely. This is a systemic problem, and not the fault of any one teacher or school. The training issue at the university level is a real challenge. And, the shortage of TVI is another. We will get our best results working together.

      Like

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