[blindkid] O&M and Expanded Core Laws

H. Field missheather at comcast.net
Thu Oct 28 04:32:30 UTC 2010

Dear Lucy,
I would begin by starting on the most solid ground you 
have--age-appropriate.  Your child should have age-appropriate travel 
skills. If your daughter is doing well academically and is on pa withe 
her peers, then there is no reason in the world that her travel skills 
should not be age-appropriate as well. No fisible argument can be made 
to deny her O&M instruction to bring her travel competence up to that 
of other ten-year-olds. she is a normal child whose eyes don't work 
well. She should have "normal" 10-year-old travel skills!

However, arguments can be - and apparently are being - made based on 
your daughter's blindness. I use the term "blind" to refer to a child 
who is functionally blind i.e. she cannot use vision as her primary 
means of getting daily life tasks done.

Therefore, your task is not complex to understand though difficult to 
implement. I would not be comparing your child to other blind 
children. For every competent child you may come up with the so-called 
experts at the school will come up with less competent ones. Your job 
is to demand age-appropriate expectations and tutoring to achieve 
age-appropriate behaviour. You need an advocate who takes this 
approach and is familiar with the competence of blind children who 
have been given age-appropriate expectations and the education and 
skills to achieve them.

Instead of arguing with the IEP team about what you believe your child 
should have, ask them why they think it's acceptable that your child 
is so far below her peers in her ability to independently and safely 
travel in her school and the community. Let them try to explain their 
expectations without saying "well, obviously it's because she's 
blind". Now, you and I, and hundreds of thousands of other people, 
know that blindness itself is not a reason for a 10-year-old, 
intellectually normal child to have preschool level orientation and 
mobility skills; they, apparently, don't agree and think it's just 
fine for her to be incompetent and are happy to blame it on her 
blindness and not on their woefully inadequate instruction and 

It sounds to me as though you have also been a bit hesitant in 
requiring your daughter to aim for age-appropriate travel skills as 
well. If she goes out with you and won't use her cane then it is you 
who is allowing this situation to continue. I would change this 
immediately as most of her orientation and mobility real-world 
experience happens when she's out with you.I would certainly be happy 
to talk with you by phone to assist you in changing this situation if 
your daughter is being very resistent.

I would encourage you to find yourself a blind advocate who subscribes 
to the NFB philosophy and never attend another meeting with school 
personnel without your advocate. You are correct in believing that 
your daughter should not be so incompetent in her orientation and 
mobility and that things need to be done to improve her skills without 
delay. It sounds like you need help in making the school staff comply. 
We would love to help.

Please send me your number and some good times to call if you'd like 
to talk to me. Also, i encourage you to follow up with the contact 
Sally sent you.

Please keep us posted and we'll help you get the services your 
daughter deserves as her right. Remember, she has a "right to a free 
and APPROPRIATE public education". Let's make the school give it to 

Warmest regards,

Heather Field
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lucy" <gingerlocket at hotmail.com>
To: <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 10:03 AM
Subject: [blindkid] O&M and Expanded Core Laws

Does Expanded Core Services (i.e. O&M) fall under the NCLB and the 
FAPE or ANY other laws that cover a child's IEP?

Hi, my daughter is 10 years old, at public school in NH. We do not 
have a school for the blind and public school has been a challenge. I 
am somewhat familiar with the law, or at least thought I was, but it 
appears some people in my daughter's Special Education "Team" may be 
covering up or making laws up when we run into issues. I thought that 
her would be a good place to get a straight answer instead of scanning 
the Internet, looking up more info, and wasting more time going in 
My main concern is my daughter's O&M. She does NOT use her cane 
correctly, and never has. Now, at school her reports show she is doing 
okay, she is reluctant, doesn't use the cane (which I purchase them 
all myself, every few months in hopes that she will take to each new 
one and use it right!) correctly all the time, does get confused while 
listening to other sounds in the building, and takes a long time to 
travel from A to B. At home and around stores, ect, with me, she does 
not use her cane and I am constantly reminding her (as I have for 
several years) to use her cane but think that I make it worse. I am 
very concerned about safety. She has one hour a week of O&M. It is 
school-based as she has been denied going out into the community as 
she needs to learn the school environment?? She requires a trained 
medical aide if so, as she is Adrenal Insufficient. In the Summer, I 
go with the Instructor as my daughter's medical Aide, unless she is 
working in the school during the EYP.

If I feel my daughter is "behind" in her cane skills or just plain in 
danger and not using her cane, is there anything I can do other than 
bringing up my concerns at every meeting, emails, communication 
verbally (which seems to go in one ear....)  Her "team" do not see my 
daughter outside of school as far as the Special Educators/Admins.. 
and I am wondering if there is a way to compare her to what a 10 year 
old child who is blind (totally blind) in a way that would show her 
school (who has never had a blind student to the extent of full 
blindness) what she should be doing. And educated them!!! I've called 
Advocates before regarding her extensive workload, which is for the 
most part completed at school, but she still has a lot of work at 
home.. It's a never ending challenge, and I just wanted to really know 
if Expanded Core is included as far as falling behind. And, if they 
are covering up, and not giving her enough suitable O&M time, because 
of her missing academic schedules (which she is doing fantastic in 
reading/math/writing of course as she is pushed to no end) What can I 
do??!! She also has no DLS, and is now slowly developing social 
skills, which has been a constant nag on my end. She has a lot of 
adults which I know happens with all her Special Ed teachers.

I have also been told that field trips means "out of the district" 
when I wasn't notified of a trip across town ( IEP states notify 
parents of all field trips and a nurse will attend or the parents 
(mom) has the choice to go as the trained Aide) I was told "that 
wasn't a field trip!) so, I guess ANY trip on the bus I need to be 
notified and then I've been told the school nurse (by the nurse) 
didn't go on any trips last year! It was an LPN who is an aide for a 
diabetic boy who needs constant attention. Basically, they are lying 
when I catch on. HELP!!!!!

ThankYou and I'm so sorry that I have jumped around so much. My next 
meeting is Thursday and would love to know of any laws instead of 
looking up more and more that are hard to find. I 've been all over 
the TSBVI, but I end up reading everything else!

Thank You,

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