Educational Advocacy for Students with Visual Impairments

These web resources guide parents in understanding the intricacies of special education regulations and procedures, and advocating for the unique educational needs of their children who are blind or visually impaired.

Full-Text Articles

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This article suggests bringing a buddy to an IEP meeting, and also lists strategies for parents to try if it appears that the meeting will be stressful; also available in Spanish.
"Future Reflections," (1996) National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Former president of New Jersey Parents of Blind Children provides detailed advice and recommendations to general education teachers.
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Explains the requirements of the braille instruction provision in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
The Department of Education issues this Notice of Policy Guidance (notice) to address the requirements of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, as they apply to the education of students who are blind or visually impaired.
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
The American Foundation for the Blind's website is a good place to start for parents and teachers who want to understand what their child needs to learn in order to succeed in school and in life. Outlines the educational needs and rights and development of children who are blind, from infancy to the college years.
This articles helps parents ensure that their high-school-aged children with visual impairments are getting access to the curriculum. Summarizes key points and accommodations that are appropriate.
National Federation of the Blind, 2013
Audio and print articles on IEPs, Education Law, Self-Advocacy, and NFB Activity in this area.
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Advice for parents on helping to create and understanding the importance of their child's Individual Education Program, assembled by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, associated with NFB.
Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center
A useful guide through the alphabet soup of educational terms and abbreviations. (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
DVI Quarterly, 50(1), 2004. Center for Exceptional Children (CEC)
Superintendent Phil Hatlen provided this introduction to the D.V.I. Quarterly in 2004 on core and extended core curricula.
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This article by a family specialist is written for parents to provide them with expectations and talking points for designing and IEP.
This article is also available in Spanish.
Perkins eLearning Webcasts
In this webcast, Stephen Perreault of the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults discusses the often sensitive issue of the relationship between the parents of a child with disabilities and the professionals who serve and educate the child.

Information about IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)

FAPE is “a partnership that aims to improve the educational outcomes for children with disabilities. It links families, advocates, and self-advocates to information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This article provides a brief overview of IDEA, including a description of the basic principles covered by the legislation.  There are numerous links to related information, all of which is designed for parents.
U.S. Department of Education
The reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into law on Dec. 3, 2004 and ensures “services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.”

Web-Based Organizations and Resources

The "Resources for Parents and Professionals" section has information about the Babies Count National Registry, an advocacy and educational planning tool for children with visual impairment.
A list of suggested accessibility adaptations compiled by the Statewide Vision Resource Centre (Victoria, Australia).
Towson University
Towson University (MD) offers an online course to introduce advocates to how to use traditional and online media advocacy techniques to build awareness of disability issues. The course uses readings and media resources to guide participants through 12 self-paced units. Certificate of Completion is available.
Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind
Educational Advocacy is a self-directed tutorial that address topics of educational advocacy for parents, educators, and policy makers. Continuing education credits are available.
TSBVI provides this portal to several documents related to the National Agenda.  Links include the agenda document in ASCII braille or Megadots, policy guidance for educators and parents, and an archive of the agenda's creation.
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
"For over 30 years this national organization of blind students has provided support, information, and encouragement to blind college and university students."
A national "source of information on: disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth, IDEA, which is the law authorizing special education, No Child Left Behind (as it relates to children with disabilities), and research-based information on effective educational practices."
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Supports and promotes the teaching of science and math to students who are blind, including technical support, participatory programs, development of teaching materials, and mentoring.
U.S. Department of Education
OSERS provides “a wide array of supports to parents and individuals, school districts and states in three main areas: special education, vocational rehabilitation and research.”
A national resource center whose mission is "to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents." The organization is especially knowledgeable about assistive technology and computers in the classroom
Southeast Missouri State University shares this breakdown of state requirements for IEPs.  Your own state's requirements may vary; these guidelines can help design IEPs for your children or students. provides basic information about terminology, procedures and best practices in special education for parents and educators.

Ask Scout

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