[blindkid] MiPOBC Parent's Meeting Update

Haley Dare haley.dare at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 7 14:52:52 UTC 2016

 For those of you in Michigan who missed the Parents' Meeting on Friday evening, here is a snapshot of what was discussed.  SAVE THE DATE July 24-29, 2017 for the MI BELL ACADEMY!
PARENTS’MEETING UPDATESUNDAY11/6, AFTERNOON SESSIONGood afternoon!  On Friday evening, MiPOBC hosted its firstParents’ Meeting at 7p.  We had a smallgroup of dedicated NFB members and a couple parents in attendance who ate upall my oatmeal cookies!  First, wediscussed the MI BELL Academy, which is being planned for July 24-29, 2016 inSW Michigan.  We discussed the need forcompetent blind adults to assist and provide mentoring to our children.  And, we would also like to include teenagerswho can provide that fun youthful atmosphere. We discussed ways to network with other organizations such as the WMUsports camp.  Since we are required byNational to take our students on one field trip, we brainstormed ideas likelearning to make a pizza at Bimbos, going to a zoo or visiting a therapeuticriding center.  (I have a massive list ofideas that were generated at the BELL training seminar!)  If you are available and interested inparticipating in the BELL program, please contact me at 269-779-2216 or haley.dare at yahoo.com.          BecauseMiPOBC believes that we learn from each other when we share our stories, anotherthing that the group really liked was the idea of a monthly MiPhone conferencecall.  (Ha, I just made that up, but Ikinda like it!)  Topics could include theavailability of new programs, field trips, the Braille/Talking Book Library,upcoming NFB events and/or seminars, etc. or it could just a time for parents toshare frustrations and/or successes or for kids to share (you know, whatever itis they talk about…this builds friendships with each other).  Some of these items may seem simple, but I amfinding from my conversations with new parents that resources for the blind/VIare NOT common knowledge.  Hence, thesemonthly conference calls, specifically tailored for Michigan families, can putthose resources into their hands which makes them stronger advocates for theirchildren.          MiPOBCwould like to create a resource list of NFB members and a few parents who aretrained in IEP advocacy to provide support to those parents who request adviceand/or encouragement about their fears for a newly-blinded child or familymember or as an advocate to attend an IEP meeting with them.  As the parent of a “partially-sighted” child,I can attest to the fact that having a blind adult, who is using nonvisualskills daily and knows what questions to ask, can be extremely helpful when youare dealing with school districts that have no knowledge about how to service ablind/VI child.  If you would beinterested in getting trained and supporting parents in this way, pleasecontact me.          Wealso discussed outreach and what a frustrating problem it seems to be to findthose blind children.  We talked aboutthe seeming disinterest of the local districts to share information about theirblind students with blindness organizations. As is Federation philosophy, we determined that we must buildrelationships with key contact people in those school districts so that theyfeel that they can share information with MiPOBC without the negative thoughtthat we are undermining their efforts; instead that we are trying to buildprograms to support their students’ IEPs.          A shortchat about a possible “meeting-of-the-minds” between teachers of the VI andparents was discussed.  It is my own theorythat there is probably a lack of awareness between what a parent feels isneeded for their blind children and the unknown obstacles that the teachersencounter when trying to provide those services, especially forpartially-sighted kids.  We felt that,because of this ongoing confrontation, that sometimes becomes severe, we mustreach out to and build, at least, a professional relationship with the ISDs andwith MDE-LIO.  And everyone in NFBMI canhelp MiPOBC with this!          That’sa quick snapshot.  I have parents onlineand in-person who want to help MiPOBC grow. Please share our Facebook page, M i P O B C, the parents group email at parents at nfb.org,and you may share my personal contact information telephone #269-779-2216.  Please be supportive of our parents andprograms and encouraging of those who are working to make MiPOBC a presence inthe state of Michigan that families can count on for the information andresources that can best benefit their children to help them#livethelivestheywant.

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