Special-needs students don’t get left out here

Published 8:29 am Friday, May 4, 2012

We applaud the work of our teachers and administrators in the Decatur County Schools, for making sure that the district’s special-needs students get a chance to earn public recognition as well.

First, this Thursday was the Decatur County Special Olympics, offering local special-needs students the chance to compete in track-and-field style events with their friends and families cheering them on. It doesn’t matter where these kids finished in their events — the important thing was they got a chance to feel like athletic heroes and earn the applause and encouragement of their peers.

Also equally impressive was Bainbridge High School’s way of involving its special-needs students in this year’s “Laws of Life” essay contest. The contest, sponsored by Georgia Rotary Districts, invites high-school students to write full essays about a maxim or “Law of Life,” such as a famous saying or a famous quotation.

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However, this year, for the first time, BHS teachers worked together to involve the high school’s special-needs students as well. Since writing a full essay is difficult for these youngsters, they were instead invited to complete posters illustrating their “Law of Life.” The students were so excited they completed the project in just two days, and reportedly a high school in Ohio is interested in doing the same thing with its students.

As most parents of special-needs children will tell you, the most important thing is for their kids to feel like a part of the group and like everyone else. Thanks to the initiative shown by our local school system and local Special Olympics volunteers, they are certainly getting that chance.