[blindkid] O & M evaluation, FVA

H. Field missheather at comcast.net
Wed Apr 15 02:18:36 UTC 2009

Dear Marie,
Since you said you're still considering opinions, may I respectfully 
share mine with you. I am an early childhood educator and a blind 
person who grew up blind. It is troubling to me why you would think 
that by giving your child a cane and letting him experiment with 
independent movement, you could be doing the wrong thing. The latest 
and most accurate and solidly documented information on the 
development of movement and independent travel in young blind children 
can be found in the book by Joe Cutter. Most orientation and mobility 
instructors are not experts in the area of early childhood 
development. This means that, in my observation, they are often unable 
to identify the differences between developmental/cognitive issues and 
specific blindness issues. There is some very good evidence showing 
why the idea of a pre-cane device does not do what proponents claim it 
does. If you really feel that you want to work with the o&m people in 
your district, I strongly encourage you to educate yourself in the 
area of o&m skills for young children. Joe's book has been quoted on 
this list before and can easily be found with a Google search.

I'm sure you'll find lots of opinions out there on what is best for 
your son. But, you are the one who will live with the consequences if 
a particular opinion you adopt turns out to adversely effect him. Many 
times the particular professional who advised you on this or that 
approach will be transfer the next year and will never see your child 
again.  Your opinion is the only one, as his parent, that truly 
matters. Thus, your opinion needs to be based on the facts which you 
have discovered for yourself, and not on what some well-meaning 
professional tells you. The more I work with young blind children and 
their parents (and I've been doing it for over 25 years now) the more 
I am convinced the parents cannot rely on the opinions of the various 
professionals they meet. No one will consider your child's specific 
needs and characteristics, his preferences and special abilities, 
fears etc. like you will. You cannot expect a professional to have the 
same grasp of your child's situation that you will have.

Also, it is important that you have a realistic grasp of the political 
nature of this issue. There are people with early childhood training, 
as well as people who have blind children for whom they had to fight 
to get correct services, who have very different views on the best 
approach to developing independent movement and travel in young blind 
children, from many paid professionals in the system. As a parent, it 
is important that you investigate both sides of the argument and 
decide what you want for your son. If someone recommends that you 
refuse a cane for your son, and that you give him a pre-cane device 
instead, and he uses it, without much change or development in his 
independent movement after six months, you can't get those 6 months 
back; they're lost to him. If you have a cane for him to use as well 
as letting him try out the pre-cane device, then you will have given 
him options. Furthermore, if you understand the solid developmental 
basis for early cane introduction, then you will know what you're 
aiming for and can work with your child. It is common for o&m 
instructors to see young children for about an hour a week. Have you 
observed how much the average 3-year-old boy moves around in one week? 
There's no reason why Jack shouldn't move around the same amount if he 
has the skills and confidence to do so. You must be his primary 
teacher and the sheer joy of independent movement and its inherent 
challenges will be his motivator.

I so encourage you to investigate for yourself and not simply trust 
the professionals. I am passionate about this topic so I hope my 
opinion has been encouraging and not unsettling for you.

Best regards,

Heather Field
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marie Smith" <empwrn at bellsouth.net>
To: "'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)'" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 8:48 AM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] O & M evaluation, FVA

Yes I am. I am thinking that we are going to go ahead and request at 
the orientation and mobility evaluation so we can get him started with 
cane or pre-cane. I thought of just getting a cane ourselves maybe and
letting him have a go at it but I did not know if we might 
teach something wrong or improper use or something.

As an aside, I have read your book regarding education of young blind
children and now your booklet that is sent out with the Readbooks! Bag 
NBP. Thank you! Thank you thank you for taking the time to write all 
stuff and help me to think.

Marie (mother of Jack, 3 yrs old with Apert Syndrome)
Learn more about Apert Syndrome
Get information and support at Teeter's page

> -----Original Message-----
> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org 
> [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
> Behalf Of Carol Castellano
> Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 1:27 PM
> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)
> Subject: Re: [blindkid] O & M evaluation, FVA
> Hi Marie,
> Still looking for opinions?
> Carol
> At 11:49 PM 4/2/2009, you wrote:
> >Opinions needed please…..
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack is 3 ¾ years old. He will be 4 at the end of May.
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack’s right eye vision is 20/320 and he has light perception in 
> >the left
> >eye.
> >
> >
> >
> >We have noticed that when Jack is outside he looks down at his feet
> except
> >when he has a specific visual target to follow or go to.
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack has difficulty walking in a straight line outside.
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack appears sometimes to have a balance problem when walking 
> >outside
> >because of the way he kind of holds his hands and arms up (not 
> >casually
> down
> >at his side).
> >
> >
> >
> >Indoors, he navigates familiar places very well except for objects 
> >that
> are
> >not regularly in his path.
> >
> >
> >
> >Indoors, he navigates unfamiliar places fairly well except he will 
> >bump
> into
> >objects a few times until he has the layout memorized.
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack has fine motor issues which may make holding a cane difficult. 
> >His
> >fingers don’t bend. His hands are small.
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack navigates his current preschool environment just fine except 
> >that he
> >needs physical assistance descending stairs and curbs. He needs 
> >verbal
> cues
> >for going up curbs and surface changes.
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack currently attends a preschool that is located inside a local 
> >K-3
> >elementary school.
> >
> >
> >
> >Next year, he will not have that option. We will either be sending 
> >him to
> >private daycare/preschool or perhaps keeping him at home. Our LEA 
> >will
> >provide therapy consult services only next year.
> >
> >
> >
> >Our school year ends around May 20.
> >
> >
> >
> >Jack will return to public school for kindergarten the school year 
> >that
> >begins after he turns 5 (year after next).
> >
> >
> >
> >Should we ask for an orientation and mobility evaluation now? If 
> >no, when
> >should we ask for this?
> >
> >
> >
> >Also, Jack’s functional visual assessment was completed prior to 
> >our
> >learning the true extent of Jack’s visual impairment. The TVI 
> >wrote,
> “Jack
> >will be a visual learner like his peers.” Since then, I asked for 
> >another
> >FVA but was told that they are done only every three years or 
> >unless
> there
> >is a significant change. At the time, we told them that our
> ophthalmologist
> >suspected that Jack was legally blind but was sending us to another
> doctor.
> >Instead of doing a FVA, the TVI provided the teacher with some low 
> >vision
> >tips. Should we ask for another FVA?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >All opinions and experiences welcomed. Thank you all.
> >
> >
> >
> >Marie (mother of Jack, 3 yrs old with Apert Syndrome)
> >http://www.allaccesspasstojack.blogspot.com
> >Learn more about Apert Syndrome
> >http://www.thecraniofacialcenter.org/apert.html
> >Get information and support at Teeter's page
> >http://www.apert.org
> >
> >
> >
> >_______________________________________________
> >blindkid mailing list
> >blindkid at nfbnet.org
> >http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/blindkid_nfbnet.org
> >To unsubscribe, change your list options or get
> >your account info for blindkid:
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> o%40verizon.net
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