If you have a child with special needs or you know someone who does, you know the challenges that come with it. There is a program in Warren County that aims at helping parents and their children. It's the Special Education Advisory Committee. It's made up of teachers, administrators, and parents of children with special needs.
Leaders of the group said it's a great place for parents to get support and learn different tricks on how to teach their kids.
"What our goal is, is to level the playing field," said Director of Special Services at Warren County Public Schools, and one of the leaders of The Special Education Advisory Committee, Michael Hirsch. "They assist parents in navigating the process of special education. Particularly with students that are pre-school students or young students identified with a disability. They will help parents navigate the sometimes tricky maze of public school," he added.
They don't just help with the maze of school. They also help with the maze of life, and they try to make the journey as easy as possible. "We provide a combination of supports for students with disabilities so that they can access the curriculum, be successful students, successful citizens, and hopefully have a productive work life and college life after graduation," said Hirsch.
Tara Smith is a social worker at the school. She has to help decide if a student should be identified as a student with special needs, and it's not always easy to tell. Once they've figured all of that out, parents can work with teachers so they're child can get the most out of their day.
"A lot of kids just do really well with that consistency between settings. What's really working at home that we could do at school that's working for this parent? Then what can the parent do if teachers are having success? If it's academic issues or other issues," said Smith.
"Special Education serves about 13 percent of our total school population. We believe in Warren County, and all of the counties around here, that our students can learn and that includes students with disabilities," said Hirsch.
For more information or how to get involved, call Michael Hirsch, Ed.S., Director of Special Services, Warren County Public Schools, at 540-635-2725 ext. 33223.