Rural school districts can help visually impaired children in remote areas, thanks to a cooperative program, the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind (ASDB).
“And I feel that it shouldn’t matter where they live, and they should be able to have the same access to their education as anybody else,” said Danielle Cummings, the supervisor of ASDB’s teachers in the western part of northern Arizona.
According to Cummings, schools must by law offer services to students with disabilities. But hiring a full time teacher for just one student can be difficult for a tiny school.
ASDB teachers make a difference for schools like these. They do more than just reading and writing. “It’s cooking, and how to get on a bus, and sports and activities,” said Cummings.
Cummings’ son Zane is learning those skills. He has been visually impaired for all of his ten years.
Cummings says that the system is not perfect. Kids are often misdiagnosed, and the state has cut funding for early intervention. She believes the money is well spent.
“Because these children, instead of potentially being on disability for the rest of their lives, can go to college and have jobs and be productive members of society,” she said.