On December 2, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed legislation that would revolutionize the way children with exceptionalities are educated in this country. The law, which later became known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, was the United States' first federal law pertaining to special education. This past December 2nd marked the 10th anniversary of the celebration of Special Education Day in the United States.
Each year in December, we should take time as a nation to reflect on how far we've come in the nearly 40 years since President Ford signed his name to that ground-breaking piece of educational legislation. In addition, we should consider what we would like special education in this country to look like four decades from now.
Below are some suggestions for celebrating it in your community during the month of December:
- Present awards. Consider the teachers, employees, and parents that make a difference in the lives of children with exceptionalities in your community. Honor these individuals by presenting them with an award-- such as "Outstanding Educator"-- so that they know how much they are valued and appreciated.
- Arrange for a guest speaker. Imagine how motivating it could be for students to hear from a successful guest speaker that has navigated the education system. Meet with the administration at your local school about the possibility of inviting a community member with exceptionalities-- perhaps a college student or successful business person-- to speak to students about triumphing over disabilities.
- Donate books about children with exceptionalities. Consider collecting several books about children with exceptionalities and donating them to your local school. That way, you can help ensure that students are being exposed to children that have challenges that might be different from their own.
- Volunteer in a classroom. Volunteers are always needed and appreciated in the school system-- and special education classrooms are no different. Consider reading a book to students or working individually with students on assignments that are giving them difficulty. Alternatively, you could also consider mentoring a student with exceptionalities in a mainstream classroom.
- Say thank you. This takes no advance planning and is always appreciated. Be sure to thank the special ed teachers in your life-- and not just during the month of December.
To learn more about job opportunities in your community to work in the education field, please contact us.
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