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
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
-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?