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Opening the Gate for Special Needs Students

A place where students can excel is necessary for all. For those with special needs, it is even more important.

Gateway Academy, an alternative school in Houston, Texas, serves 7th-12th graders with special needs. The disorders of the students range from autism, Asperger’s, dyslexia and ADHD.

Many of the students of this school had recently left their traditional public schools because they were teased or bullied. That, in addition to their learning disabilities was leading many of the students towards failure, with a slim chance of ever graduating.

This small private school recently celebrated its six graduates with a small ceremony. Since its start only 4 years ago, the campus is already expecting to move into a $1.4 million facility by the fall.

Even though the school has only 40 students and 15 staff members, the small size makes it more intimate and focused for the students. With intense social-skills training and daily study skills classes, there are more opportunities for students to succeed at this school.

There are some differences in the way the school is run. For example, students are required to exercise for at least 30 minutes each morning and some are given small breaks throughout the day to help with concentration problems. Students are given a different environment that is geared towards their different lifestyle behaviors.

Gateway Academy graduates are confident that they will leave the school prepared to enter the workforce or continue with their education in colleges, options that may have not been available to them from other schools.

You can read more about the Gateway Academy by clicking here.

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Moving Towards Physical Special Education

Physical education is such an important part of every child’s school experience. This is the place where they get a break from the stress of the classroom. It is here where they get to run around and have a little fun in their day.

The Day School of the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill offers physical education classes which are designed specifically for those children who have special needs.

The students in these classes all have very different disabilities but that doesn’t limit them to what they can do. From square dancing and basketball to hockey and football, these students get the opportunity to participate in such physical activities. These activities are specifically adapted to each student’s needs and abilities and can sometimes even include physical therapy.

Physical education classes like these are great for all students, especially special needs students. Not only do they get physical exercise that is important in leading a healthy life, but they can learn skills that will help them socialize out of school with their families and other people. Simple games and sports teach students some essentials like rules, teamwork and success.

The activities must be designed with the students in mind. Some require staff to adjust the rules or set up for students to be able to participate. Staff members and volunteers accompany most students.

In this class, there seems to be no limit on what the students can do, which is also a great lesson for them to live by.

Photo by: Jug Jones

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