Regarding the Inclusion of the Word "Blind" in Special Education Definition

A2005-01: Regarding the Inclusion of the Word "Blind" in Special Education Definition

Adopted In : 2005

Topics : Education

WHEREAS, all children who receive special education services in Minnesota because of legal blindness or other irregularities in their vision must be qualified for such services under Minnesota Rule 3525.1345; and

WHEREAS, such services may include anything from braille and cane travel instruction to modification of seating arrangements in the classroom; and

WHEREAS, while "visually impaired" as defined in the rule includes some who are not legally blind, the rule is also clearly intended to apply to students who are blind; and

WHEREAS, the rule contains several references to "visually impaired" but never uses the word "blind" in the title or the text; and

WHEREAS, the  equivalent rule covering hearing-impaired persons is titled "Deaf and Hard of Hearing" making the absense of the word "blind" a conspicuous omission; and

WHEREAS, the title of this rule, "visually impaired", which is used to categorize students receiving special education services, is a prominent part of the students' Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and influences the options considered therein; and

WHEREAS, an instance recently occurred in which education officials cited the absence of the word "blind" in the Minnesota Rule to support their refusal to refer to a student as blind in his IEP; and

WHEREAS, understanding and accepting blindness is an important part of developing positive attitudes about blindness, both for the student who is blind and for the professionals who work with the students; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota on this eighth day of October, 2005, in the city of Bloomington, Minnesota, that this organization seek (and support efforts to seek) legislative authorization to make a noncontroversial modification to Minnesota Rule 3525.1345 for the purpose of adding the word "blind" to its title so that it reads "Blind/Visually Impaired"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that after approval to modify the rule has been received, this organization work with the appropriate entities to ensure inclusion of the word "blind" in the rule title.

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