After school programs for special education students are necessary for students with disabilities, but a variety of factors should be considered before implementing them. This article will explore accommodations, structure vs. open-ended programs, cost, and the impact of the opioid epidemic. We will also look at some of the most common accommodations that children with disabilities require. Let’s dive in! This article covers the basics of after-school programs for special education students.
Many children with disabilities would like to participate in after-school activities, but they may have difficulty attending such programs. The right to attend non-school activities is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and programs run by nonprofit organizations must also provide reasonable accommodations for children with disabilities. The ADA and Section 504 laws require that public organizations make reasonable accommodations for children with disabilities. Fortunately, almost all after-school programs must provide access to these services.
A 504 plan is a yearly plan developed with the school and the parent to ensure that the student receives appropriate accommodations in the general education setting. Those with disabilities needing special education services also need access to related services, such as counseling and physical therapy. This plan should be reviewed at the end of every school year, but can be reviewed more frequently if necessary. If the needs of the child have changed, it is possible to make changes.
Structured programs vs. open-ended programs
While some children with special needs thrive in special education programs, others find them frustrating. Before signing up your child for a special program, look over the typical and special versions of activities to find out which style will work best for your child. Structured programs often provide more structure than open-ended experiences. However, many special education students do not have strong foundational skills to benefit from open-ended activities.
Whether a student should be in a structured program or an open-ended one, teachers should know the student best. Students with disabilities present a diverse set of strengths and needs, so the best way to approach instruction is to understand the individual needs of each student. These students tend to struggle with attention, and memory, as well as with language and social regulation. Moreover, they may be demotivated by repeated failure.
The city of Chicago is planning to offer after-school services for its special education students. When the pandemic hit many services ceased to be offered. Some programs were visualized with one teacher, while others were not. City officials acknowledge that disruptions have knocked many children off track. So they are announcing new eligibility for extra-special education programming after school and on weekends. The programs are a new way to provide a vital service to children with special needs.
Besides helping children with special needs to develop important social skills, after-school activities also give them an opportunity to meet other kids. This is a crucial element of a child’s development, and after-school programs allow them to do just that. Kids with special needs are likely to have social communication challenges, so the opportunity to interact with other children is a great advantage. The right organization will offer built-in social connections, so it is important to choose a program that offers both.
The impact of the pandemic on after-school programs for special education students
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a particularly severe effect on people with disabilities, including children with disabilities who need special education services. In the United States, there are approximately 6.7 million children with special education plans, and more than two-thirds of them have some kind of special health care requirement. Delays or cancellations of services may impact children’s education, resulting in lost instructional time.
Although the pandemic has put a tremendous strain on school districts, many believe they are acting in good faith. Parents should first contact school leaders and discuss their concerns before filing complaints. However, parents and advocates do not always trust school districts to prioritize their children’s needs. This is why they should not file complaints or take action without first gaining some information. The best way to ensure that families receive necessary assistance is to engage in discussions with school leaders and understand what they can do to make changes.