[blindkid] School services for an elmentary school VI student getting new teacher

L W mama2sally at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 9 18:36:23 UTC 2009

I am feeling a little frustrated. I just found out that My daughter Joli's teacher is leaving the school one Friday. The school will be hiring somebody new who is not familiar with Joli's vision (corrected 20/400) and language issues. They haven't decided who they are hiring yet.

I am worried however, I am going to try to use this as opportunity to get some additional services for Joli. I have some questions:

Do you have a scribe for your child? I have found during homework time Joli (Age 7 & Vision: 20/400 corrected) is often told to write a few paragraphs about something, or to use each of her spelling words in sentences showing meaning. Last week she was given a writing exercise where she had to invent her own Greek myth where somebody had to send somebody on a task of finding something. 3 things had to go wrong and each needed to be resolved, and at the end of her myth the task had to be completed. Joli is able to dictate such things to me, and I write down what she says. Then she copies what I have written into her homework exercise book . The process of getting the ideas out of her head and onto the paper without my taking her dictation would take forever because of her vision and her language issues. She often looses her place when writing and so has to go back and find it again. It's painstaking because by the time she has written one sentence it has
 taken so long that she has forgotten the rest of what she is trying to say. The physical problem with her writing is that she has to hold her face so close to the page that it actually gets in the way of her hand. Anytime she needs to look away from her paper and glance at something on her  worksheet that she needs to refer to, she must again find her place on her page to finish writing. I don't want her to be dependent on others but at that same time it kills me to see her struggle with her nose resting on her paper trying to squeeze the letters on the line. I am wondering how she is able to do any kind of writing -- creative or otherwise -- in the classroom because of this. (Whatever is written on the big classroom board is also given to her either on her personal hand held white board or as an enlarged worksheet. I am more worried about the writing that has to come from her own head rather than note copying.) I am wondering if having her do her
 classwork on a laptop where she can enlarge the text and where it would be easier for her to self edit on the fly wouldn't be a good idea. Her  teacher who is leaving has been worried that she may loose her cursive script. To be honestly I am amazed that she is able to fit her letters on the lines correctly at all. 

Right now the extras she receives:
worksheets are enlarged. -- (her school doesn't use textbooks as all assignments are on worksheets. The reading books they have are individual children’s paperbacks and the kids take out one at a time so each kid works at her own level) Once a week she has an hour of extra reading and language help. The nurse puts sunblock on her if they are going outside for more than 5 mins. Her class doesn’t use any over head projectors except during whole school assembly. She is allowed to wear a hat and sunglasses. I have provided her regular glasses plus reading glasses, hand held magnification devices, and a clip board which we find helps with her writing because otherwise her neck gets stiff from having to hold her face so close to the papers. She sits in the front in her class for everything. However I recently attended a whole school assembly and her class was in the 3rd row, and she remained with her class. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. In
 a way I want her to remain with her classmates but if she can't see that’s not good either.  As I said above she gets anything writen on the board put on her hand-held board or on her enlarged worksheet.

She isn’t receiving extra time on tests or assignments etc. Her teachers also complain that she is often restless and will get up out of her seat at times when she shouldn’t and will talk out of turn. She also sometimes asks a teacher to repeat himself many times which frustrates him to no end. (She did this with last year’s teacher too.) I am not sure what the issue is there. I don't know if she is doing it just because she wants to or because she can't see who the teacher is calling on. I don’t know if she is restless because she is bored or hyper or if she needs a break because her eyes are tired.

Our school doesn't have a TVI or IEP. It's a small private school outside the US.

Right now I am thinking about asking for a classroom scribe for her at least for her literacy /writing portions that are more than just copying and/or letting her use a laptop for writing excursuses in class.

Thoughts? Any other ideas of things I should ask for? 

I am esp interested if people think a scribe is a good idea.  I was thinking maybe having one for the times when Joli has to write more than one or two paragraphs...?


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