Special Classes for Special Children

Special Classes for Special Children

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Many people don’t think about the need for specialized schools for disabled children, but for me and my family the thoughts were all too real. My sister was born with slight autism, developmental delays, and an auditory processing disorder. When she was a baby the doctors thought she wasn’t going to be able to walk by herself, luckily she proved them wrong and can walk, run, swim, and even ride a bike. Unfortunately, she still has the mental disabilities that have challenged her since birth, and needs specialized teaching so that she can thrive.

My family has moved three times throughout my life, and that’s no simple task with a child with special needs.  Every new place we moved to had to have the best schools, especially for my sister, Camie. When Camie was too young to go to school we moved to Indialantic, Florida with my grandparents. Indialantic was a small barrier island on the east coast of Florida that my grandparents had lived on for the past 40 years. Being only three miles long and five blocks wide it’s surprising that they had such a great school for Camie to attend, once she was old enough. Space Coast Early Intervention Center is a pre-school for children with and without special needs, but they have a primary focus on children with disabilities. My sister thrived there! She absolutely loved it, there was a huge playground, arts and crafts, and specialized activities for Camie to do that helped her development at a young age. Part of Camie’s disabilities are that she is developentally behind in all that she does. She crawled at about 8 months, and didn’t walk until she was almost one. The trend continued thoughout her life, she still cannot talk like we can, but can say basic words, that’s also due to her auditory processing disorder.

http://www.sceic.com/  (webiste for SCEI)

When it was time for Camie to go to kindergarten they put her in a regular paced class, which was a terrible idea. Even with the help of a personal aid she had a hard time understanding the material and became fustrated with school and learning. We pretty much saw all progress stop when she moved to a base school and we took her out of S.C.E.I. so we knew something had to change. Next year she moved to a special needs class, which had specified curriculum, but there was intergration into a standard class as well, and still her own aid. Camie soared with this class! Her vocabulary almost tripled every year for the five years we were in Indialantic. When I was in 7th grade my mom took a job in Tampa so we all had to move.

My mom had the difficult task of finding a school that had a superior special needs program for Camie, that place was in South Tampa. We stayed there for two years and then had to relocate to Virginia where that process started all over again for my mom.

Camie loves going to school at Chantilly High School, but it one of the only high schools in the area that offer a special needs program that is worth joining. The need for specialized schools, or parts of a school for special needs children is an issue that doesn’t get addressed enough. There needs to be schools for children like Camie. They need to be accessible to all families, and they need to happen soon. Camie has grown so much as a person and is the most kindhearted person I know. You can’t push someone like her to the side just because she has different needs than you or me.

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(my friend, me, and Camie)