Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If Only

Ashley’s elementary and middle school years had more downs than ups. Every single one of her teachers were inexperienced in how to educate a child with deafblindness. Some teachers gave it their best shot but still came up short, and others just decided to let the school year pass as quickly as possible hoping their role would end before my anger erupted.

But high school is different. Ashley is currently in the 10th grade, and for both this year and her 9th grade year, she has had a great teacher who is sincerely interested in learning all she can about deafblindness.

This teacher has completed several college level courses on deafblindness since she found out Ashley would be her student. She goes to every training she can find to hone her skills. And the benefit to Ashley is obvious. Ashley is doing very well in school, and her academic and social advances are obvious.

Here’s some text I got in an email from the teacher about Ashley’s upcoming IEP meeting:

"Also, you might notice that the accommodation page is lengthy. This is in part due to some wonderful information that I learned at my training. Robbie Blaha (our trainer and guru on the Calendar system) found that by putting how to work with a child that is deafblind in the accommodations page that everyone who interacts with the child knows exactly how to most effectively. It is very specific and consistent. Again, after looking at the accommodations, please let me if you have any other strategies that you think should be added or if there are some you feel need to be deleted or changed. Some of the goals I have kept the same as the overall goals are based specifically on how children should be taught and how to ensure that they access their environment. I did tighten up on the percent of mastery and communication. "

Whoa! Everyone working from the same page? Expecting more mastery and communication? Asking my opinion? I feel like I’ve died and gone to Heaven!

I can just imagine how much farther along Ashley would be had she had this type of support through all her elementary and middle school years. Now, here’s hoping we can pack in enough education in the high school years to truly pave the way for Ashley’s success.


Angel said...

Wow! I wish my teachers had been even half as committed as that. Even though I went to a school for the visually impaired, no real notice was taken of my dual impairment. I was basically expected to function at the same level as mypeers who had only vision loss.
It's great that Ahsley is now getting the support she needs. Luckily I am as well, now i've moved to sheltered accommodation.

Ashley's Mom said...

Angel, I would love to hear more about your sheltered accommodations. You can email me privately if you like (nickersonhome@aol.com)

Terena said...

that is so wonderful! You're right, if only EVERY teacher would go that extra mile for our kids.

Jess said...

Wow-- what a great teacher and an amazing opportunity for Ashley! We've been lucky enough to have a similar teacher for Connor and it's fantastic to have someone in the school system who cares deeply about your child and will go the extra mile to make sure they succeed. Kudos to Ashley's teacher (and to you, of course, for finding such a great resource for your child).

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