“Wait – what??” you might be thinking. It’s only April. It’s only just now turning to spring. The return of warmer weather. Trees and flowers blooming, longer and brighter days ahead. School is still in session. Maybe you haven’t even had your IEP meeting for your child with cortical visual impairment (CVI). Or maybe you are still struggling through this school year, let alone ready to get ready for the next one. Or maybe every morning you wake up to, “Do I have to go to school?” “Can I stay home, just today??” (A thousand times, no.) It might still be April, but it is not too early to start thinking about back to school.
Being in a different school, school district, city, state means that right now, this year, we are thinking ahead to fall. Unless it is a transition time for your child with CVI – from early intervention to public school, from elementary to grade school etc – school teams stay relatively intact from year to year. Depending on your child’s placement, the classroom teacher may tend to change. You know your educational team is taking your child’s education seriously when they suggest identifying next year’s teacher – come spring.
In our five years in the public education system, this was the first time a team had suggested identifying that next teacher early. The first time that the team saw the CVI, along with the benefit of preparing the next teacher. The teacher who will be new to the diagnosis of cortical visual impairment. The teacher who will be new to the child (novelty, Roman).
Yes, teachers change jobs and move around, but you can make a good guess at who is likely to stay put. Right now, take a look around at who would be a good fit. Is it a teacher with a certain personality or approach? A teacher who is super organized? Or a teacher with an especially tidy classroom? Somebody who is willing to explore a new book. Somebody who is willing to listen to a webinar on CVI during that summer road trip. Speaking of summer, it can also be a good time for online continuing education on CVI. Again, be specific in your continuing education requests: Training in cortical visual impairment (CVI) 101, training in scoring the CVI Range, or supporting students in Phase III CVI. When it comes to preparing a new team member for your student with CVI, you cannot plan too far ahead.
Identifying your child’s next teacher now means the teacher can get to know your child. That new teacher has the opportunity to see your child in the classroom. That new teacher has the opportunity to see what modifications look like for your child with CVI (it’s really not that scary). That new teacher has the opportunity to see your child late in the school year, in an environment that by now is familiar (novelty). Because after a long summer, when fall and back to school roll around again, the new school year will be just that, new, or novel.
Not to mention, all of this planning and looking ahead benefits your child with CVI. He gets to know who his teacher will be next year (complexity, difficulty with faces, novelty). Or she learns where her classroom will be next year (orientation, salient features of the environment). All of these efforts fall under the umbrella of anticipation (Roman) and help make a new school year less novel for the student with CVI.
Predictability and reliability equal trust.