Every child is unique, and their individualized education program (IEP) should reflect that. It should be tailored to their needs.
However, there are a few things that all parents of students with deaf-blindness should consider when it comes to special education matters.
1. The IEP team should include a deaf-blind specialist, intervener
General classroom and special education teachers often do not have the resources to teach students with visual and auditory impairments. That is why it is helpful for students with deaf-blindness to have specialists on their IEP team, including:
- Deaf-blind specialists: These specialists can work with the child or teacher to assist in communication, learning methods and other skills.
- Interveners: Interveners provide critical services to students with deaf-blindness, working with them one-on-one often. They also have specialized training to work with students and help them learn and develop the skills they need.
These specialists will be essential to help students maximize their education.
2. Consider special circumstances
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides that children with disabilities not only obtain a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), but also any related services that support the child’s education.
Students with deaf-blindness often require these extra services, which commonly include:
- Continued services over the summer to achieve their IEP goals
- Assistive technologies or other items, such as communication devices, for school and home use
- Services for transitioning to adult life, including focuses on Braille education, independent mobility and communication with others
Parents should ensure they discuss these related services at each annual IEP meeting.
3. Carefully review accommodations
Of course, each IEP should include customized goals for the student to achieve. However, it might also be necessary to address accommodations school staff and teachers must make to help the child succeed.
For example, some common accommodations necessary for students with deaf-blindness include:
- Providing lessons or curriculum notes to the specialist or intervener ahead of time
- Maintaining clear walkways to allow the student to navigate the classroom
- Allowing the student time to rest during the day
Every child has a right to education. And California parents must ensure they understand the details of their child’s IEP to help their children obtain this rightful education.