FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT’S SEAT
Teaching Children with Special Needs
All children deserve the opportunity to excel to their fullest potential. Advances made in the field of special education during the past thirty years make this a well-founded statement so all children can excel. Special education services affect students with a broad range of disabilities and create the framework from which meaningful school experiences happen for every student.
Every child can learn. I believe that. In our school district and many across the country, children with learning disabilities and children who are physically challenged are achieving at unprecedented levels. And the majority of these students are doing so within the regular classroom, alongside students without special learning needs.
We did not always live in a society that was aware of disabled children and how to assist them. In the early 1900s children with disabilities were not given the same opportunities as children without disabilities. In 1975, Congress passed landmark legislation named the Education for All Handicapped Children Act requiring schools to provide students with disabilities an appropriate education.
As families became more cognizant of the services children with special needs were entitled to, schools, parents and students began working together to create positive educational experiences. Students with special needs flourished!
If a parent or teacher has any concern that a child may have a disability, they should be referred to the appropriate committee.
Educating children with learning or physical challenges alongside their non-disabled peers fosters an understanding and acceptance among both groups, which I believe better prepares all our children for the world beyond school.#
Dr. Carole G. Hankin is the Superintendent of Schools, Syosset Central School District.