Information for parents of disabled children

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Athletics For Everyone?

Sports icon for PortalsImage via WikipediaWeeeelll . . . Maybe. Perhaps. Kinda.
Schools have a lot of obligations when it comes to special ed. students, but is an inclusive extra-curricular one of them. Obviously, a student who is able must be allowed to participate, or the school faces the music. Schools don't necessarily have to consider after school sports as part of a Free and Equal Public Education.
However, there are perhaps situations that could require a child's IEP to include such activities according to the professional website, an online resource for school leadership. The wisdom presented in their article, Boosting Inclusion for Students with Disabilites, suggests appropriate moments exist for schools to take on the responsibility.
"In some circumstances, however, participation in athletics and extracurricular activities may be necessary for the child to benefit from the child’s educational program. For instance, a student with an emotional disability may require participating in athletics to develop a positive self-image and acquire social and emotional skills."
This, they suggest, would be an appropriate moment to include sports participation in an IEP. As a parent sitting down for a case conference, this may be a hard sell situation, meaning there could be some resistance. Bring plenty of evidence to the discussion, if this is your goal. Teachers, coaches and administrators may need some convincing. More than that, you have to be certain yourself that it's something your child really needs.

Do schools have to provide this? Not necessarily, but there could be circumstances where they would. Behavior Plans and social skills training need to be firmly married to any after school activity to truly justify its inclusion in an education plan.
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