A group of parents from British Colombia are angry because their children with special needs are being excluded from school activities. This was sparked by the results of a survey an advocacy group released last Tuesday. They plan to use the data to work on more projects for kids with special needs.
Kids with special needs are usually socially excluded, so schools need to step up to ensure they feel welcome and other kids don’t ostracize them. Usually, teaching other kids about their conditions helps a lot with becoming more understanding of their needs. Kids are more likely to be afraid of or ridicule something they don’t completely sympathize with. Without the school system’s support, however, special needs kids will find it more difficult to integrate themselves in school, which is why this report has been so shocking.
Last year, BCEdAccess launched an online survey to gauge the number of kids with special needs who are excluded from school activities. The advocacy group invited parents to document the number of times their kids were excluded, and the project was able to get 500 reports with 3,600 instances of exclusion. Results showed that 70% of the students who were excluded had autism.
A further complication to the issue is the presence of an education assistant. The group found that in half of the cases, the child’s education assistant was absent. This means that there is a shortage of teachers and educators who are equipped to support individual children; instead, they can’t focus on each child because they have to manage a whole classroom. Without a specialized support system at school, kids with specific educational needs will find it difficult to succeed and be comfortable in school.
The advocacy group hopes to push each school district and the provincial education board to conduct a similar study of their own. They believe it will help educators get a better picture of how to help kids who are struggling in school. Kids with disabilities shouldn’t be excluded from school activities just because they have specific needs. Schools should encourage them to participate in whatever activity they want, no matter what physical or mental challenge they’re dealing with.