Eddie is sitting next to his teacher, Julie, reading APH's "Splish the Fish" in braille using hand-under-hand while both are smiling.

My Version of “The Bill of Rights”

Last year, a document was created by the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI). The document is titled, “A Bill of Rights for All Children with Visual Impairment and their Families.”

The idea for this document came about because many schools and administrators aren’t fully aware of our children’s unique educational needs. This lays it out for them in a way that matches current federal law, while also supporting our kids. It’s a tool made by educators to be interpreted by other professionals working in schools, which is why it’s pretty technical. It’s meant for a family to bring to an IEP and share with teams struggling to understand the rights of children like ours.

The below statements are my own interpretation of the intent within each “Right.” If these peak your interest, I highly recommend you read the original. My hope is to capture what each means to me as Eddie’s Mom, and your meaning may be different. Here is my version:

  1. My child deserves easy access to the right professionals expecting his success.
  2. My child deserves an education based on his specific needs.
  3. I deserve accurate information to make the best choices for my son, and access to professionals and organizations that can help.
  4. My child with visual impairment deserves braille instruction.
  5. I deserve to know about the unique skills needed for my son who is blind.
  6. My child deserves additional, blindness specific instruction outside of standard coursework.
  7. My child deserves all the same information as his peers…in whatever way he needs it.
  8. I deserve to know about all school settings to have a voice in the placement decision.
  9. My child deserves educators that will prepare him for the future.
  10. My son deserves to be a kid first, and like all kids, adds value to our lives and the lives of others.

I’m always looking for new ways to share what Eddie needs, which is why I’m grateful to the professionals that made this document happen. Thanks to the California School for the Blind, it’s also available in Spanish and Vietnamese at the link above. I hope it’s a helpful edition to your journey, and that if needed, you find a way to make it your own.