If you are the parent of a school-age child, it is likely your child interacts with children with special needs on a regular basis. Students with all sorts of disabilities and challenges are in our schools, and they are part of our school community.
Federal law requires that schools educate students receiving special education services with their regular-education peers as much as possible. However, these students often are not included in activities outside of the classroom, such as those organized by school PTAs.
This exclusion isn’t on purpose. While teachers have special training on how to accommodate the needs of special-education students, PTA organizers do not. In addition, most parents of special-needs children don’t participate in the PTA because their children are not included in PTA activities. So there’s no one at the PTA meetings to help organizers create activities that include all of the school’s students.
It’s an unfortunate cycle, and one that the Wake County Special Education Inclusion Committee wants to break.
Wake-SEIC is here to offer guidance and resources to PTAs throughout Wake County. Our goal is to have a committee member in every school and ensure that member is active in the PTA.
We invite everyone who is involved with Wake County schools—teachers, administrators, and parents (even if you don’t have a child with special needs)—to join our Google group and like our Facebook page. That way you can find out about upcoming workshops and events, as well as inclusion efforts in Wake County and around the country.
So what is inclusion? It’s building a school community of which every student is a part.