September 9, 2013
Ms. Maureen Toonkel
Minnesota State Services for the Blind
12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 1600B
Mankato, MN 56001
Re: New IPE for Catherine
Dear Ms. Toonkel,
It is time we upgrade Katie’s IPE. You have not kept your commitments from the original IPE and other commitments you have made.
Katie requested all correspondence with you in BRAILLE AND PRINT last October 22, 2012. (See Application for Rehabilitation Services, page 7.) Your document states: “While you are working with Services for the Blind, you will be receiving printed information from us. We would like to try to provide that information to you in your chosen mode whenever possible.” “TRY” does not meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. You have the Minnesota State Services for the Blind, Communications Center, to have print materials Brailled.
Clearly you did not try very hard to put print information into Braille. You handed Katie a blue folder with 21 brochures and handouts in print when she signed her Individualized Plan of Employment March 13, 2013. You had nearly five months to have these materials in Braille. Please note: Katie still has not received them in BRAILLE! You have had another six months to have these materials Brailled. When will she receive them?
The fact remains that Katie did not receive one piece of Braille material from you before July 26, 2013. You had Nine Months to produce ONE document in BRAILLE. Makes me wonder how hard you TRIED to give Katie her materials in her chosen format!
We are still waiting for Tech Evaluation and Amendment #1 in Braille. How long will we wait for these?
It is truly amazing that I presented you with our proposed Amendment #1 at the July 17, 2013 staffing. Your rejection letter was dated July 26, 2013. Now this letter was able to be printed and Brailled within two weeks! This baffles me! Why could not the other materials be Brailled in that time frame?
Lastly, you and your assistant stated that you had submitted Katie’s original Individualized Plan for Employment to be Brailled one to two weeks prior to the July 17, 2013 staffing. Katie received it finally in Braille but it stated it was a “REVISED COPY” dated August 10, 2013. So you had not sent it in for brailling like you stated July 17th. We have the July 17, 2013 meeting taped with your approval. You lied to us that it was in the process of being Brailled.
You stated at the May staffing that Katie was the first person on the list to receive a loaner computer with Jaws software for her use. At the July staffing you stated that the loaner computer
had not been returned. Then in your rejection letter dated July 26, 2013 you wrote: “I have checked and we still do not have a loaner computer available. We are still waiting for one that is overdue to be returned. As soon as it is retuned it will be issued to you.” It is September and you still have not provided the loaner computer. May to September is four months! Would you not agree this is problem?
The whole purpose of Katie attending Vision Loss Resources for training is to make her “as independent as possible”. Yet you have failed to give her the loaner computer to practice JAWS, a screen reading program that she is learning for the first time.
Techniques of Daily Living.
Again, Katie needs the tools and devices to become independent. You have refused to provide these to Katie so that she could be independent in her apartment. Simple clothing label tags, for instance, would allow her to sort her clothing in the laundry and also to match tops and pants into outfits. You have refused to purchase these for her independence. I have had to drive 65 miles one way each weekend to do her laundry! Wow, that is real independence for Katie!
Ms. Michelle Vicory is Katie’s cooking and Techniques of Daily living instructor at Vision Loss Resources. She stated to us that she has requested a list of items Katie needed at least twice to you and you have refused to purchase them. They were also listed in Amendment #1 and yet in your refusal letter you did not even address them! How does a blind person become more independent without proper tools and equipment?
Katie’s Technology Assessment was conducted July 1, 2013 at the SSB office in St. Paul. It was a disaster! Instead of two to two and a half hours long, it lasted less than one hour. She was not given a hands-on evaluation. And when she tried to demonstrate the Braille Note to you, it was not hooked up to the internet. It was just very poorly done. As a result Katie has had to go through endless hours of needless class time on adaptive equipment, especially the I Phone and I Pad, of which Katie has no interest.
Katie’s career choice of being a Spanish teacher/Spanish interpreter is a good fit for her. She has a special gift for languages. AND her college professor told her it would be a mistake for her not to become a Spanish instructor. You keep pushing more “Career Exploration”. For Katie it is just another waste of time.
You, Maureen Toonkel, have failed to provide the necessary tools and equipment needed for Katie’s independence! The first thing a blind person needs is to be able to read, read in Braille! You have not kept your promises and you have lied to us. How do we trust your word in what you say?
As a result Katie has decided to leave her program at Vision Loss Resources. The teachers who offered her the most college preparation are not scheduled or scheduled very often.
Katie will be attending South Central Community College commencing January 13, 2014. She needs her technological equipment ordered NOW to be ready for the spring semester. Some of the equipment may be on back order. Also attached you will find her application for admission to South Central, receipt of payment, and her FAFSA documentation.
The Disability Services Office of South Central is waiting for your order so that Katie can early register for her January classes. She needs to know that her technology equipment has been ordered so that she can get her textbooks ordered in BRAILLE. This process takes several months to ensure her textbooks are ready the first day of classes. See Amendment #2.
Please have this letter and my Amendment #2 brailled for her records. Please send any correspondence in Braille and Print at the same time.
I think it is time for you to resign from Katie’s case. We know of your bet with your former fellow employee, Ms. Jan Bailey. The two of you had a bet that one of you could close the most cases in a year! If I was your supervisor I would had fired you on the spot!
Also, we know of your lack of confidentiality. You often share with your son confidential client information.
You refused to allow Katie to go to college from the get-go even though she had previously attended college for a year and a half and with a 4.0 gpa. You stated that she HAD to attend a Vocational Rehabilitation Program such as Vision Loss Resources in order for you to fund her college career. Reading the SSB literature you provided in print, SSB only “strongly suggests” going to a Rehab Program. So we have another lie!
Katie would like a new counselor, a counselor who will do her job and have her best interests at stake. She has no confidence in you.
Cc: US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, Region V
Governor Mark Dayton
Senator Amy Klobuchar
Senator Al Franken
Representative Frank Hornstein
Senator D. Scott Dibble
Edited by ModTeam (09/16/13 09:53 AM)
Edit Reason: removed IDs of mentioned persons