Are Schools Doing Enough for Special Needs Students?

special needs students

When working with special needs students, it is important to be in communication with their families. Together you make up a team who will work on making sure the individual child has the resources that they need to be successful in school and beyond. Of course, it is not always this simple. The problem stems from one question. How does one determine what is the proper amount of support for a student with special needs?

“Special needs” is a rather open-ended term that includes a lot of diagnoses and conditions. These include autism, epilepsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, dyslexia, or one of many other conditions. Some students may have severe needs that need to be addressed, while others are barely seen. When it comes to the law of the United States, public schools are required to give appropriate educational services to students who need them. The problem is that the definition of appropriate modifications and assistance. Federal laws leave a lot of this up to the state level.

From here, individual school districts may interpret much of the rules and legalities on their own. Technically, schools must provide whatever it takes to help students, but in reality, it is not always the case. Budgets are tight and many schools are forced to pinch pennies. This attempt to save money could come at the cost of available services for children with special needs who require them. Often times, parents will push back, but many do not know the rights for their children. Frustrations may run high, and oftentimes special needs families pull their children from public schools to try homeschooling.

If you work with children who have special needs, it is important to be aware of protocol in your district.  In addition to this, you must work on getting more comfortable with being an advocate for the children who you work with. Think outside of the box and collaborate with others in your school community to come up with solutions that may assist each child. Families may also be willing to do some additional therapies outside of the academic day to help their children. See what resources are available from agencies that will assist families with the high cost of therapies and support. The more you advocate the easier it will be to know that you are helping all special needs children to get what they truly need.

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