13 Ways a (PTA) Can Help a Student with Special Needs
The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the education of students in the United States, from preschool through high school. Thousands of public and private schools have local PTA units adapted to the unique needs of each school Every unit is run by unpaid volunteers.
What exactly does the PTA do?
The PTA does whatever the school needs to be done. Some PTA activities do not cost anything except volunteer hours, for example, providing volunteers to help students check out library books, or to help the office staff check in late students and deliver lost lunchboxes in the morning.
Most PTA activities require funding, especially academic enrichment and extracurricular support. For these efforts, the PTA raises funds through carnivals, silent auctions, book fairs, membership drives, corporate sponsorship, grants from private foundations and other creative methods.
How do students with special needs fit in with the PTA’s goals?
Some parents of students with special needs are resentful of their local PTAs because they feel that their children are excluded from school activities. Some special education classes don’t visit the library or the book fair at all. The school carnival may be too noisy and chaotic for certain students. Special education teachers may feel discouraged from applying for a PTA classroom mini-grant, because it will only benefit a few students. Some PTA meetings may seem to be controlled by a small clique that wants nothing to do with special education students.
The truth is that the PTA is comprised of its members, and at most schools, one person really can make a difference.
For a few years, I couldn’t attend any of the PTA’s evening meetings due to sleep issues at home, and my fussy baby prevented me from volunteering for most activities. As my little one grew bigger, I was able to attend a few meetings and help with a few initiatives. Then I began to see the potential benefit of the PTA for my older son, who is a special education student. This year I am serving as the PTA president at my older son’s middle school.
If you think the PTA can’t or won’t help your special education student, you are wrong! These are some of the programs that the PTA has sponsored at schools across the USA.All that’s missing is the right volunteer for the job, and that would be you.
1. Parent to Parent Support
When my son had his first IEP, I was asked if I wanted to be contacted by a member of the school’s Parent to Parent Support Team. Parents with years of IEP experience call parents who are new to the system, and answer their questions.This program does not cost anything, and it creates a sense of community for new parents who may be feeling isolated.
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