The Back To School Guide for Special Needs Kids

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After a summer break filled with all sorts of fun extracurricular activities—with some rest and relaxation thrown in for good measure—there will inevitably be another school year.

Buying some back to school clothes and supplies for your kids may be on your to-do list. But that is only scratching the surface if you have a special needs child who needs to be ready for the classroom environment.

This is so because children, and more so special needs children, could have more difficulty adjusting to a new teacher, new classmates, and a new grade level.

In order to make the transition to the school year from the summer break as smooth as possible, what follows is a back to school guide for special needs kids.

Talk it Out

Before the school year kicks off, you should open up a two-way dialogue between you and your special needs child. By so doing, you can help to lessen, if not altogether eliminate, any pent up anxiety your child may have about returning to school. Even though changes can be difficult for anyone, you can get your child to relax and even to look forward to the new school year by focusing on the positives such as the opportunity to connect with old friends, to make new ones, and to learn new things. If your child is headed to a new school, try to schedule a tour of the facility beforehand so that he or she develops some familiarity with the school environment.

Comb Over IEP

Familiarize yourself with your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is a written statement for special needs children. The IEP essentially serves as a blueprint for your child’s educational needs, so you need to look at it before the new school year starts to ensure that it still meets the needs of your child. Keep in mind that IEPs have an expiration date, and make sure that you stay on top of when your child is slated for a reevaluation. Ensuring that your child’s IEP is still relevant will help to make the academic year less stressful for your child and will position him or her for success.

Familiarity Breeds Content

If your special needs child gets anxious whenever he or she encounters change to the status quo, you can potentially alleviate any worries by setting up certain routines for both before and after school. These activities to start and end the day can serve as calming bookends, so to speak, which will give your child comforting, settling anchors.

Stay in Touch

When it comes to making back to school preparations, you need to focus not only on your child, but also on the staff at your child’s school. In other words, you should make it your duty to know whom your child’s teacher is, not to mention the principal, in the event that you need to inquire about anything related to your child’s IEP. The school staff are there to help your child, and you are obviously your child’s best advocate. By staying in touch, and voicing your opinions and observations, you can be the advocate your child needs.

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Organize for Success

When buying school supplies, look for things that’ll help your child stay organized. For instance, you can, depending on your child’s special needs, opt for color coded binders or folders that correspond to specific subjects. This organization will help your special needs child to remain more focused and provide less opportunity for your child to possibly get flustered or frustrated in an environment that could trigger sensory overload.

Back to school can certainly be a particularly stressful time of year for special needs children. By following the aforementioned tips, you can make the transition to the school year from summer break less stressful and more enjoyable for your child.

Should You Consider a Charter School For Your Special Needs Child?

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With ten different types of schools in the Los Angeles school system, each of which can carry their own enrollment period, parents are finding it very difficult to choose the right school for their child’s needs.  

Recently, however, LAUSD came under fire for not spending part of their budget on high needs students. This has led many special needs families to consider switching from public schools to charter schools..   Here are some pros and cons of charter schools, especially if your child happens to have special needs.   

PRO: Charter Schools Give Families Options

The popularity of charter schools has grown because they give families the option to choose the school that fits their childs needs.  For a family with a special education student, this can be a huge benefit.  Not all public school districts are created equal.  The provisions that a public school has at its disposal for special education students can rely heavily on its funding.   At least with a charter school, these families can research what to expect with how that particular school works to accommodate these types of students.

CON: Charter Schools Can Create Exclusivity

Obviously, charter schools cannot practice discriminatory acceptance methods, but their model does tend to favor certain students.  If, for example, the charter school looks to save money by reducing transportation services, this can affect low-income families more than it will affect higher income families.  Charter schools can also set their own curriculum, which can create an exclusivity that can negatively impact special education students.  Some schools have been accused of discriminatory acceptance practices against special education students in the past.

PRO: Niche Teaching

Public schools are exactly what the name implies: they are schools that are designed to serve the general public.  Each public school has a certain set of standards that they have to adhere to, leaving very little room to specialize the curriculum.  Charter schools have the ability to design their own curriculum and can specialize in the form of teaching they subscribe to.  Montessori schools, for example, focus on freedom within limits and independence.  This type of teaching philosophy, which focuses on a childs natural development, was developed specifically with special education students in mind.

CON: Underfunding

As charter schools are technically for-profit institutions, making money is part of the game.  The government funds of a public school, on the other hand, are meant to go straight into the education experience, whether that means paying administration or buying supplies.  Typically, charter schools only spend about 50% of their budget on instruction, whereas public schools spent closer to 60% of their budget on instruction.  In order to make a profit, charter schools will usually cut spending in places that public schools spend more: teacher compensation, special education, transportation and high school education.

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PRO: Smaller Class Size

As charter schools tend to have less enrollment, each classroom tends to be smaller compared to public schools, especially those in urban areas.  As special education students need more attention, keeping them in overcrowded classrooms can prevent them from getting the education that they need and deserve.  More manageable class sizes in charter schools are beneficial to special education students by giving them more one-on-one time with a teacher that is not as overwhelmed.

CON: Less Transparency and Less Student Freedom

Public schools are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, which by contrast, charter schools are not.  The reason for this difference is that charter schools are privately funded, so when it comes to some information, charter schools can be a little more tight-lipped.

Only recently have some measures been put into place that require charter schools to release certain data, including disciplinary data.  When studied, the data (collected from more than 5,000 United States charter schools) showed that disciplinary actions were carried out against black students and students with disabilities at a disproportionate rate compared to white and nondisabled students.

Charter schools do have their advantages, for students that require special education classes, but there are also some drawbacks in this system.  Research your local charter schools thoroughly in order to decide what is best for your child.

How Video Games Benefit Students With Special Needs

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Video games are a big business and can be a great way to unwind after a long day or to have fun with friends.  Did you know that video games could also help develop skills in students, especially students with special needs?  Video games have shown effective in developing communication skills, motor skills, social interactions, and more skills that they will need to develop in order to grow.  Here are just a few skills that can be taught through video games. Also here is the best gaming mouse to help you play even better.    

Communication Skills

Video games have almost become interactive movies as the technology continues to advance.  The visual storytelling to todays modern videogames allows children with special needs to observe communication.  This can teach them listening and verbal skills, while giving the students a good model for language patterns in a conversational setting.  Some games go a step further; Storybook Workshop for the Nintendo Wii, for example, is a game in which the player reads fairy tale passages aloud.

Motor Skills

Motion control has been one of the biggest innovations in video games of the past decade.  With the Nintendo Wii and the XBOX Kinect, motion control games are now in the household and can help special needs students develop motor skills.  These games promote muscle memory, rhythm, and can even test their short-term memory skills.

Organization

Super Mario Maker is a literal game changer, as the Nintendo Wii U game finally allowed gamers to create their own levels featuring the Super Mario Bros. universe.  Creating levels will teach kids visual scheduling, managing tasks and time, and can help students with executive functioning.

Reading and Writing

Even though cinematics in video games have come a long way in recent games, there is still plenty of reading that has to be done in order to understand the storyline and solve puzzles.  Following the instructions given to the player by the game will help the students develop necessary reading and writing skills.

Problem Solving

Most video games have a puzzle-solving element to them, and students will need to develop critical-thinking skills in order to play them.  Scribblenauts, for example, requires creativity in order to solve a myriad of visual puzzles.  Scenarios are presented to each player and can be solved in a variety of ways.  In order to solve the problem, the gamer has to type the name of an object that they think will help them complete the task.

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Social Interaction

World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games of all-time, and one of the main aspects of the gameplay is socializing with other gamers.  Some educators have implemented the game into the classroom, as studies have shown that students on the autism spectrum have been able to learn socialization skills.  The game, and other MMORPGs like it, requires teamwork in order to accomplish some of the more complicated tasks.

Video games have been proven quite effective in developing necessary social skills for students with special needs.  Through these games, educators can help these students develop these skills while they have fun.

Writing Strategies for Special Education Students

As a teacher of students with special education needs, it can sometimes be difficult to understand the sensibilities of each of your students, especially when it comes to writing.  If you give them an understanding of the context of their writing, provide instruction on basic writing skills, set attainable goals, design a plan of action, and design a peer review workshop for edits, you can help them understand the skills you are trying to build in them.

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Create a Context for Their Writing

Having your students understand what they are writing and for what purpose is important to help them recognize the different types of writing tasks, especially for special education students.  For example, making your students understand exactly what a persuasive essay is supposed to achieve can help them better understand how the format works to achieve that and they can get a better sense of the format.

Provide Clear Instruction for Basic Writing Skills

If you have students that struggle with writing, understanding what they struggle with and working on molding those skills can help them gain more confidence.  Providing clear instructions can take the guesswork out of the task at hand.  Part of your strategy to teach writing to special education students should also be honing skills such as spelling, handwriting, and sentence structure.  Taking 15-20 minutes out of each lesson plan to practice these skills can do wonders for your students.

Have Students Set Goals

In any sort of learning, setting goals is a great way to track progress.  Teaching writing to special education students is no different.  Goals could be anything from the amount of words written to submitting a piece of writing to a competition or simply having a work peer reviewed.  The objective is to not focus on long-term goals, but to break it down into smaller, achievable goals.  This way, attaining the goals will act as a motivator and as a barometer for progress.

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Help Students Develop a Plan of Action

A good first draft can make the writing process go much smoother, and that is no different when it comes to students with special education needs.  For students that have trouble with writing, helping them organize their thoughts can go a long way and can help them get over the anxiety they may have of writing.  Help them identify the audience, what the point of the writing is, what they know on the topic, and how to organize what they know.  An organized plan can make everything go much smoother in the long run.

Use Peer Review

If youre trying to help kids with special needs learn to write, it is a great idea to get them to think of writing from two different perspectives: as a writer and as a reader.  When you use peer review to make corrections to the students writing, it gives the children an opportunity to observe how other writing can flow and can inform how they write as well.  Build a checklist to give your students a handy template for what they should be critiquing.

Part of teaching writing to special education students is to help them understand what they are writing and how it is being used.  Taking time out to help them plan accordingly and to sharpen their basic writing skills can give them confidence to write in the future.

The Great Outdoors: Recreation Ideas for Special Needs Children

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Summer is in full force! Our children are done with school for the year, now with plenty of free time away from the classroom to hang out with friends and run around outside. This time of year can be difficult, however, for families who have children with special needs, as summer hours often mean less structure for the child. By making a few adjustments and knowing where to look, parents can ensure their kids have as fun and exciting a summer as possible no matter what.

Fun at Home

For parents who are looking to keep things simple in the safety of their own backyards, there are plenty of things to do to while away the daylight summer hours. Playing hide and go seek is a childhood staple, but it can also have practical real world applications as well. By staying close by and allowing the child to come to the adult, the child learns how to remain calm while searching around. This will help them deal with crowded or uncomfortable social settings in the future.

It is also good to break kids out of their routines every now and then to help them explore the world around them. Simply taking a special needs child to a playground in a different neighborhood can allow them to meet new children and interact with them in ways they would not have gotten to otherwise. A fresh environment will also provide new toys and jungle gyms to play, which can help to work on different sets of motor skills, which will also come in handy down the road.

Summer Camps and Sports

Of course, children do not want to spend their entire summers simply playing around their backyards or neighborhoods. When a special needs child and their family thinks they have reached an age where they can be on their own a bit more, there are no shortage of summer camps around California that cater specifically to this community. Whether a kid wants to spend time away overnight or parents need a place to drop them off while they work during the day, they will be able to find a camp that meets all of their needs. Rolling admissions are available all summer long!

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If a child has shown some interest in sports, there are recreational activities available year round, but are particularly popular in California throughout the summer months. The Autism Youth Sports League offers a sports program for kids age 4 to 18 in San Dimas, California, which includes baseball, bowling, flag football, soccer, basketball and cheerleading. Some of these activities even have sibling inclusion, so be sure to look out for ways to include all of the children in a family, whether or not they have special needs.

Special needs children can enjoy the summer just as well as other kids their age, as long as their parents take a look at the resources available to them. Summer is a time for children to get outside and enjoy themselves, whether they want to pass the time just watching the clouds float by in their backyards or feel like bouncing around the playground with others their own age

How a Special Needs Advocate Can Help Parents

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As a parent of special needs children, we have come to know unique stresses of life. We’re well-versed in how to handle many situations from personal to social. All aspects of life are, in fact, special for us. And then our children hit school and suddenly, numbers and letters are flying around, like 504 and IEP, and questions we aren’t even sure how to ask are running through our mind.

Take a deep breath.

During this tense time, we have to be kind to ourselves. We don’t have to go through this alone. Rehearsing what services to ask for while in that impending meeting isn’t always enough. The ‘what if’s abound despite all the research and reading we do.

Thinking ahead.

At the school meeting, we don’t know what will happen. For starters, what if there are not enough services being offered to our child? What if we were up all night worrying about this very meeting instead of getting a good night of sleep? What if we aren’t comfortable with how the meeting is going but don’t know how to say so in front of all those experts? What if we become emotional and need to take a moment to let all the information sink in? What if we aren’t comfortable signing the papers right there? These are common scenarios.

Consider the options.

Quite simply, the help you may need can come in the form of a more experienced person who has been in your shoes before. Do a search on the internet for the term “advocate” with your zip code and see if any local names come up. Better yet, call your local Special Services department of your school district. Tell them you would like to talk to an advocate about your child’s upcoming IEP or 504 meeting at your school. Perhaps there is a support group in town with parents of previous students who want to help people through the process. There are different types of advocates who are willing to help.

Wait, what?

But wait–isn’t OUR job as parents of special needs children to be their advocate? Shouldn’t WE know how to handle this meeting? After all, we know our child backward and forward! We already know what our child needs, right?

Well, yes and no. As with much in life, we don’t know what the outcome will be. The unknowns are many. But there are systems in place with people who actually want to help. An advocate, whether paid or volunteer, can help you through that meeting in ways you didn’t know you needed.  

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Now it’s your turn.

Many of us who have been through this experience know: Deciding to let an advocate helps take the edge off. If you are fuzzy-headed because of lack of sleep the night before, an advocate can help keep the meeting on course. Perhaps he or she has something important to add to the discussion, something you hadn’t considered. An advocate has the past experience and has learned the appropriate words to bring up the important issues. Or if necessary, they can ask for the rest of the meeting to be rescheduled if you need time to think about the services being offered, or even refused.

Accept it.

If you do decide to bring an advocate, you will need to tell the point person at the school. And not just to make sure there is a chair available for the extra person. This communication speaks volumes to the district, who may also want the head of their special services department to attend.

Don’t go it alone.

You have support as long as you ask for it. Tell all involved that you are going the extra mile to ensure your child’s future gets handled properly. Your rights as parents of special needs students are clear and you are prepared to work for what your child needs. This is about your child’s well-being, safety, social life, future and quality of education. So let an advocate support you through it.  

Tips for Visiting Theme Parks for Your Special Needs Child

Going to a theme park with family is almost a rite of passage during the summertime. But in the event that one or more of your children have special needs, you’ll have to do a bit more planning and be a bit more intentional before heading out so that your entire family can enjoy the outing. One of the reasons you need to be prepared is that children whose special needs issues are of a sensory nature may find the noise, the flashing lights, and the large crowds to be overwhelming. And this can turn what should have been a fun-filled day into anything but.

What follows is a look at how to plan before heading out, what to do while at the theme park, and which theme parks to consider visiting with your family.

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Preparation Before Heading Out

You’ve probably heard the saying that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Truer words have never been spoken. Before heading out for a day of family fun at a theme park, be sure to do the following:

Picture Perfect: Bring a recent photo of your child in the event that he or she wanders off unbeknownst to you.

Think Comfort: Bring things that will comfort your special needs child if he or she becomes overwhelmed. These can include toys or even games that will calm your child down if need be.

Don’t Do Too Much: One of the biggest mistakes that you could make is to pack way too many activities into a single day. Doing an excessive amount of stuff can overwhelm anyone, so think quality of experience rather than quantity of time.

Bring Snacks: While many theme parks forbid people from bringing in food, they will generally waive this ban if your child has any food allergies. So be sure to let the staff know if there’s any issue.

When You’re At the Theme Park

Planning before heading out is a good idea, but you’re not home free once you get to the theme park. There are things you can do once you arrive that will help your child to enjoy the occasion.

Visit Guest Services: As soon as you arrive, you should head right over to guest services to let them know that you have a special needs child. Some theme parks will give out special access cards to special needs kids that will make for a more pleasant day out. Don’t be shy. Ask!

Time Out: If your child suddenly gets overwhelmed by all the noise and activity, you should ask a staff member which areas of the park are the quietest. This will provide your child with a place to calm down and unwind before heading back to the fun and games.

An App for That? There are apps that are geared towards special needs children, and they can be helpful if your child has a case of sensory overload. So bring games along just in case.

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Theme Parks to Visit

There are plenty of theme parks that offer special needs access passess to those who need them. The complete list features a variety of parks for the whole family. Here are three that stand out:

  1. Morgan’s Wonderland: This theme park is located in San Antonio, Texas. Even better, all of the rides that the theme park offers are suitable for people with special needs. Admission is free to people who have special needs.
  1. Holiday World: This theme park, located in Santa Claus, Indiana, offers a special pass for people who have special needs. This boarding pass, as theme park refers to it, allows a person with as many as three of his or her friends to bypass the lineup for the rides.
  1. Sesame Place: This theme park, located in Longhorne, Pennsylvania, offers a wristband and special access card to patrons who have disabilities. Such people can avoid lines at as many as half a dozen rides and three wet rides each day.

If you plan ahead, you and your special needs child can enjoy a great day out at an amusement park. Have fun!

LAUSD Needs to Reform Funding for Special Needs Students

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There has been a small victory for families of special needs and high risk students in Los Angeles as the state now demands district leaders spend more funding on these students. As parents have advocated for their children to receive the extra help they need, it has fallen on deaf ears to Los Angeles Unified School District until now. The Los Angeles Unified School District, or LAUSD, has been short changing the special needs community for years, officials from the California Department of Education say, and the state will no longer stand for it.

How Does a School District Control Spending?

Every year, school districts get additional subsidizing from the state known as supplementary and focus stipends which endeavor to close the gap between the amount of financing special needs students at present get and how much they should be getting.

The LAUSD is the biggest state funded educational system in California. It is the second biggest government funded school district in the United States. (Only the New York City Department of Education has a bigger student population.) The LAUSD school district has a spending budget of $6.78 billion.

As per the claim, only half of the $700 million the area reported spending on high needs students amid the 2013-14 school year was actually spent on those students. What’s even more troubling is how large of a population of students this affects: 79 percent of the students in the district who get special education services are likewise distinguished as low-income, ESL or foster youth. 

A claim documented a week ago in Los Angeles Superior Court affirms poor bookkeeping by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). They have completely neglected the special needs children of funds they are budgeted to receive under the Local Control Funding Formula.

What is The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)?

The Local Control Funding Formula, signed by Jerry Brown in 2013, allows schools to have more control of their spending. However, while schools are able to manage their budgets via local decision making, there is still a standard set for funding schools equitably. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Overview provides information about LCFF funding and accountability provisions. Additional information on LCFF implementation is contained in a letter issued jointly on August 7, 2013, by the State Board of Education and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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What Does this Mean for Special Education?

Without the proper funds, special education departments can not function properly. Despite the lack of funds for the special needs programs, the superintendent of LAUSD got a pay hike of a staggering 32%, sources say. With the budget error, special education teachers are sadly underpaid. This error also subtracts the number of educational field trips, materials, tutoring opportunities, help in language arts and math, etc, for a wide variety of students. Special education teachers and substitutes go through training to learn how to teach special needs children, and are very hard to come by. Luckily, with the California Department of Education’s mandate on LAUSD to be compliant with the terms of their spending, there is hope that all of this will change for the better.

Are you concerned your child may not be receiving the help they need? Contact the California Special Needs Law Group if you have questions about advocacy, your child’s individualized education plan, or whether your school district may be underfunding special needs students.

The Best Summer Camps for Children With Special Needs

Summer camp is where many children create memories, form friendships, and enjoy the great outdoors. If your child has special needs and would like to attend a summer camp, there are lots of choices across the U.S. that specifically cater to children who have a wide range of special needs.

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Let’s take a look at 5 of the best summer camps for children with special needs. There are obviously many more possibilities, but these selections offer a great mix of things that will be particularly beneficial to your child.

Camp No Limits

This camp organization’s mission is to educate and employ campers with limb loss to discover and develop a healthy, joyful and independent lifestyle. It offers camping in California, Florida, Arizona, Maine, Texas, Missouri, Connecticut, Idaho, and Maryland. The California camp is situated at Pine Summit Camps in Big Bear Lake, which features an elevation of just south of 7,000 feet. Kids can enjoy rope challenges, zip lines, swimming, and more. Since 2004, Camp No Limits has provided a family company experience that offers parent and child peer support, adapted recreational activities, and cutting-edge prosthetic education. The Friendship Circle ranks Camp No Limits at #20 of on its Top 25 list.

National Ability Center

Coming in at No. 4 on the Top 25 list, National Ability Center in Park City, Utah features camping opportunities for children with cognitive impairments, physical limitations, and autism. Children are given the chance to make friends and social connections, and the fact that there is camping available year-round means that you child can take advantage of winter camps, summer camps, and adaptive sports camps. As for reviews, the National Ability Center achieved a stellar 4.9 out of 5 stars and 89 reviews on Facebook.

Camp Grace Bentley

Camp Grace Bentley, located on the shores of Lake Huron, gets the No. 10 slot on the list. At this camp in Burtchville, Michigan, your child can develop a greater sense of independence by taking part in lots of new adventures and by engaging in teamwork with other campers. The camp, which is open to campers with a variety of mental and physical challenges, caters to people between the ages of s7 and 16, and the nine-day camping sessions can be enjoyed between late June and mid-August. If your child likes swimming, movie nights, dances, theme nights, arts and crafts, and campfires and sing-alongs, then this camp will do the trick. While there were only three reviews on Google, they were all 5 stars.

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Camp Greentop

Started in 1937 and located in Catoctin National Park, which is close to Thurmont, Maryland, Camp Greentop caters to children with cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities. In fact, it is one of the country’s oldest camps designed to meet the needs of people who have special needs. Children as young as seven can enjoy the camping experience. Camp Greentop takes the No. 5 spot on the Top 25 list. On TripAdvisor, the camp has, at last count, 287 reviews. 211 of those rated the camp as “excellent” and 51 of them rated the came as “very good.” In fact, it has 5 stars out of 5 stars overall.

Camp Paivika

While Camp Paivika did not make the Friendship Circle list, it is nonetheless a quality camp for children with special needs. Situated in the picturesque San Bernardino National Forest, AbilityFirst Camp Paivika provides summer, spring, and winter programs for children with disabilities. Yelp only has one review on Camp Paivika, and the reviewer gives the camp 5 stars.

So, there you have it — 5 of the best summer camps for children with special needs. If your child wants to go to camp this year, you can check out what the aforementioned have to offer. As always, the California Special Needs Law Group are always here to help in any way we can. To schedule a free 30-minute consultation, give us a call at 888-900-0744.

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California Schools Celebrate Prom for Special Needs Students

When it comes to the rite of passage that is the high school prom, no student should be left out. Yet all too often special needs children are left feeling excluded from prom festivities that traditionally represent an important coming-of-age milestone.

Special Needs Students

According to the Meeting the Needs of Special Education Students report, the majority of special education students–between 80% and 85%–are capable of achieving the same academic standards as other students provided that they have access to specially designed instruction, appropriate support, needed accommodation, and appropriate access.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the vast majority of special needs students on the verge of graduating would, if proper accommodations were made, love the opportunity to celebrate the end of their high school years with their peers. And, indeed, some California schools are doing more to make special needs students feel welcome at school proms.

An even more interesting development, however, is a trend that shows some California schools and organizations opt to hold proms specifically for special needs students — and the results have been positive.

Sherman Oaks

At the Help Group Sunshine School in Sherman Oaks, a special prom was recently held for students with special needs. The event, filled with dancing and merriment, was just as special for the students as it was for the parents.

In fact, one mother who was interviewed said that she derived personal enjoyment simply by seeing her son get the chance to enjoy his prom the way that other kids get to enjoy theirs.

A reporter who attended the event said that a lot of the students at the prom were non-verbal, but she added that speech was not a prerequisite to having a lot of fun.

Night to Shine

The Calvary Church Los Gatos on January 10 teamed up with the Tim Tebow Foundation, churches in Silicon Valley, businesses, and schools to celebrate the Valentine’s Weekend with youth who have special needs.

The plan was to make the event especially memorable for attendees. For instance, they got the chance to enter the prom on a red carpet complete with friendly paparazzi cheering their arrival. They also had the chance to go to hair and makeup stations and shoe shine stations. And, of course, there was dancing as well as the opportunity to be crowned as the prom’s king or queen.

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San Gabriel Valley

In May, San Marino High School played host to special needs high school students in the San Gabriel Valley region. At this prom that was geared towards special needs students, attendees dined on food, danced on the dance floor, and enjoyed the music from the DJ. The event allowed the 75 special needs students in attendance to enjoy the company of their peers.

Prom is certainly an important rite of passage, and no student should be deprived of the opportunity to attend. The aforementioned proms in California are just three examples of how special needs students can enjoy the the rite of passage that is the high school prom.