[blindkid] Being held back a grade

Julie Yanez jyanez112 at gmail.com
Tue May 28 17:33:42 UTC 2013


Well, I was not planning on holding her back this year. I wasn't her to
continue on to 6th grade. If I would have let her go to the county VI
class, I would of tried to have her do 2 years there. Seeing how it ends at
6th grade, repeating 6th would have been an option for me.
This new class is not a "resource room" as I hear. It will be an actual
classroom of only children with visual impairments(and of course those with
other underlined issues) to focus on braille and technology. It did sound
like a great option. But we chose to move her forward to middle school and
change her curriculum around to best fit her needs to move forward.
Something about being in one classroom with 10-12 other students ranging
mostly from kindergarten to 3rd grade just didn't sit well with me.
On May 28, 2013 10:24 AM, "Carol Castellano" <carol_castellano at verizon.net>
wrote:

> Hi Julie,
>
> Your comments about a new campus for just one year and having to deal with
> new kids and a new aide put me in the camp of keeping her where she is.
>  She can certainly gain her blindness and independence skills in her
> current setting, if people set their minds to it.  What are the reasons in
> favor of keeping her back?
>
> Carol
>
> At 10:07 PM 5/24/2013, you wrote:
>
>> Thank you all for the advise and input. My daughter is not, as many school
>> officials like so say, "just blind". On top of having no usable vision,
>> she
>> was also born extremely premature and suffered and brain hemorrhage just
>> after birth. Before becoming extreme, it was able to be stopped and
>> resolved. But much damage was done. We knew that her comprehension and
>> short term memory would eventually be affected due to it. Its now showing.
>> Has for the past 2/3 years.
>> She can almost easily read a 5th grade passage, but once asked, can't
>> recall a thing. Her compression is at about a 3rd grade level. Math is the
>> biggest struggle. No matter what manipulates we use, she can't grasp it.
>> The class that was offered, the county class for only VI students, will be
>> starting its first year. It will be a k-6 class. Their ultimate goal is to
>> focus on independent skills and technology as a baseline for future
>> education. But seeing how my daughter is going into 6th, she will only be
>> able to attend one year before being tossed in a middle school to start
>> all
>> over with a new 1:1 aid. Her current aid is amazing. We have had her for 4
>> years now. She's taken the time to take braille classes on her own so she
>> doesn't fall behind as well. And she is no push over. She makes my kid do
>> the work and stay on task. But she will be discontinued if my daughter
>> attends the VI class. So we are kinda lost. Our options are basically:
>> 1. Attend the VI class for one year, concentrate on technology skills and
>> independent stills.
>>
>> Or
>>
>> 2. Attend a special ed class(like she is at now) on a middle school
>> campus,
>> continue her 1:1, and make her elective class her braille technology
>> course.
>>
>> There are many pro's and con's to both. I truly wish they would have
>> started this class years ago. I honestly think it's too late for her to
>> benefit from it. Its a new campus for just one year and then she'll have
>> to
>> start all over 7th grade with a new campus again and new friends. And most
>> likely a new aid.
>> On May 24, 2013 6:35 PM, <pburmahln at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Richard,
>> >
>> > I find your comments very interesting. My preschooler Jack will start
>> > kindergarten in 2014 and there is an option to go to another school
>> with a
>> > resource room run by a blind TVI who is terrific, or keep him at the
>> local
>> > school his sighted brother goes to without a resource room. He would be
>> the
>> > only blind child in a large school. I would like to add that although he
>> > has LCA he has a fair amount of useable vision but will probably be a
>> > Braille reader and writer. From what you are saying, it's best to keep a
>> > blind student at the local school with sighted peers? I did read an
>> article
>> > somewhere that said it was easier for a blind student to learn all the
>> > Braille etc. early on in a school with a resource room, and then
>> mainstream
>> > them. This of course presumes the resource room and school are doing a
>> good
>> > job, and as you pointed out, this may not necessarily be the case. I
>> > suppose I know that Jack will be fine wherever he goes because I am
>> willing
>> > to work with the school to do whatever it takes. I am learning braille
>> so I
>> > will be able to Braille his materials if necessary, check his homework,
>> and
>> > find resources to put Braille books in the classroom and library. Jack
>> is a
>> > very bright child and one of my concerns would be that he is challenged
>> > enough in class, and god forbid they try to 'dumb' down anything for him
>> > because he's visually impaired. I just find the question over resource
>> room
>> > or not an interesting one, and one that I will keep debating until
>> > kindergarten.
>> >
>> > Thanks for your input,
>> >
>> > Pui
>> >
>> > Sent from my iPad
>> >
>> > On May 24, 2013, at 11:03 AM, Richard Holloway <rholloway at gopbc.org>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > > We have been fortunate as far as not having any issues with a need to
>> be
>> > held back, but we did have to weigh out having our daughter in a school
>> > with a "resource room", which I suspect may be similar to having what's
>> > being called a VI Class in this case?
>> > >
>> > > Hi Julie,
>> > >
>> > > Is this proposed change a self-contained class in general? Or perhaps
>> > more of a pull-out for part of the day or to work on particular
>> subjects as
>> > needed? I think my primary concern would be what you already mention--
>> > won't this be likely to reduce the amount of individual support, and
>> > potentially the overall support for you daughter? That sounds
>> potentially
>> > like the opposite of what you may be needing.
>> > >
>> > > We had the impression in our situation that our daughter could quickly
>> > be spending more time out of the typical classroom with her sighted
>> peers
>> > with little advantage if we choose the school with a resource room. In
>> > fact, we quickly noticed that other blind students in the class (we
>> went to
>> > observe) ended up in much less well adapted classrooms when not in the
>> > resource room, with needed items like a brailler too often being left
>> > across the school in the resource room. Certain classroom support
>> materials
>> > were poorly braille adapted. Sighted kids had available "pleasure
>> reading"
>> > books in the classroom when the counterparts in braille would require a
>> > trip to the library or resource room. There was no braille signage of
>> any
>> > sort outside of the resource room... There were just a lot of issues...
>> > >
>> > > Obviously ours is just once case, but there was a clear mentality in
>> > this particular school such that braille was a thing to be focused upon
>> > mainly in the special room where blind kids go much of the time. Shortly
>> > after this, I spoke with a number of older blind students (recent HS
>> > graduates or HS-aged kids) at a conference and each of them who had
>> been in
>> > a resource room situation said these were rooms where the blind kids
>> hung
>> > out and talked and did very little actual "work", often falling being
>> their
>> > typically-sighted counterparts. If that is what you're actually looking
>> at
>> > it (without knowing it) it surely would be a step in the wrong
>> direction.
>> > >
>> > > Have you observed this potential new setting with blind students at
>> > work? Have you called for additional IEP meetings to try and remedy your
>> > daughter's falling left behind? If she is capable of doing the work and
>> > sufficiently motivated, the issue may be that things aren't being
>> > sufficiently adapted. Obviously I'm purely speculating, but my question
>> on
>> > the matter would be what strategy will be used in the future so that
>> your
>> > daughter doesn't keep falling behind. One thing I have heard of rather
>> > often is that many blind students have less expected of them at school,
>> so
>> > they do less work, so they fall behind, then the end of the year comes
>> and
>> > they say "well, your student is too far behind", when what needed to
>> happen
>> > was they needed to help the student catch up earlier in the year. That's
>> > poorly worded, but what I'm trying to underscore is the overall pace for
>> > our students has to be the same all the time as for the other students.
>> > There's just no way to say that a student can just skip over
>> subtraction or
>> > division so they are ready to move onto the next math subject, or they
>> can
>> > ignore parts of speech in English class because they were always pulled
>> out
>> > to work on braille skills (etc.)
>> > >
>> > > In cases where teachers feel badly because things are harder for blind
>> > kids (which can certainly be true in some situations) so they "give
>> them a
>> > break", long-term, that's a huge issue and counterproductive. Short
>> term,
>> > it may be necessary as a particular strategy is developed, but when it
>> > happens, you have to then come back and get caught up. In our case for
>> > example, we fell behind in math several times in 4th grade and had to
>> work
>> > really hard to catch back up because some of the math takes so much
>> longer
>> > to accomplish with the required procedures to be done in braille. We
>> > therefore did math on nights when other kids didn't. We did it over
>> > weekends and holidays as well, and there was also some after school
>> > tutoring required. It was a big hassle, but fortunately, it worked out
>> in
>> > our situation.
>> > >
>> > > There are surely situations where a resource room or a school for the
>> > blind are the best placement for students-- I have no doubt of that, but
>> > without a compelling reason to the contrary, I tend to believe that the
>> > most appropriate, least restrictive environment ("LRE") is a mainstream
>> > classroom with many typically-sighted peers. The reason being that "the
>> > real world" (and even middle school, in your case) is filled with mostly
>> > sighted people, and most of our blind kids are going to need to work and
>> > interact with mostly sighted people for the rest of their lives.
>> > >
>> > > At the school, I would ask them how this suggested option stands to
>> help
>> > get your daughter "caught up" and back on grade level, or at least
>> closer
>> > to that. This type of situation tends to save school systems money
>> > (multiple kids with fewer teachers and resources), so they like to move
>> in
>> > that direction, but the concept of an IEP is to do what is most
>> appropriate
>> > (avoid the use of the tern "best" with school discussions) and least
>> > restrictive for the student. Cost is not allowed to be a consideration
>> in
>> > the IEP process, so if they actually go in that direction, make a note
>> of
>> > it and attempt to get them on record with that. Get it in writing or in
>> a
>> > recording if you can.
>> > >
>> > > And something else to keep in mind, if they can explain to your
>> > satisfaction how this will be best for your daughter-- being held back
>> > and/or the change in classroom setting, ask them how it will be
>> beneficial
>> > when she gets to middle school as well. There my also be social concerns
>> > with either being held back or changing classroom  settings which could
>> > potentially cause further setbacks if your daughter is upset by these
>> > changes-- just something else to factor in. I know i all gets quite
>> complex.
>> > >
>> > > As far as aides, around here, it is rare to get the same aide two
>> years
>> > in a row. A good aide for four years straight would be an amazing
>> > situation, but I would be really surprised indeed if they can route the
>> > same aide back to you later if she gets reassigned. Then again, asking
>> up
>> > front couldn't hurt.
>> > >
>> > > My final thought (sorry to be so verbose) is that (at least in our
>> > school system) when kids are in danger of falling behind, if you're in
>> > conventional school calendar situation, IEP kids can be deemed eligible
>> for
>> > year-round school. That might not be too exciting for your daughter or
>> your
>> > summer plans, but it might be a way to keep her from being held back no
>> > matter if for this year, or if that is already where you are, it might
>> help
>> > in a future year.
>> > >
>> > > I'm sorry to hear of your challenge.
>> > >
>> > > Good luck,
>> > >
>> > > Richard
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > On May 24, 2013, at 10:30 AM, Julie Yanez wrote:
>> > >
>> > >> Good morning fellow listers. There is a possibility that we will be
>> > >> discussing my blind 11 year old being held back in 5th or holding her
>> > back
>> > >> next year in 6th. Overall she's at about a 3rd/4th grade level.
>> > >> This year the district is adding a V.I. class for K-6 grades. That
>> is an
>> > >> option for her. Although I am excited for it, I don't know what will
>> > happen
>> > >> for 7th when she has to move to a middle school. Right now she has a
>> 1:1
>> > >> aide everyday. She won't have that in the VI class. And I can't
>> > guarantee
>> > >> if her same aide whom has become fluent in Braille over the past 4
>> years
>> > >> will be with her after the VI class ends in 6th.
>> > >> Have any of you or your children been held back a grade? Of so, what
>> > were
>> > >> the pro's and con's?
>> > >>
>> > >> Thank you, Julie.
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>
> Carol Castellano
> Parents of Blind Children-NJ
> Director of Programs
> National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
> 973-377-0976
> carol_castellano at verizon.net
> www.blindchildren.org
> www.nfb.org/parents-and-**teachers<http://www.nfb.org/parents-and-teachers>
>
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