(EDITOR’S NOTE: Allison Vanosdol is a student at Warsaw Community High School who is interested in journalism. We, at StaceyPageOnline.com, encourage young, budding journalists to explore their interests and submit their writings to us for consideration for publication.)
By ALLISON VANOSDOL
After graduation, special needs students will not know how to communicate with others on their own if they have not been interacting with others throughout their career as a student. At Warsaw Community High School, special needs students participate in and out of the classroom and also with other students as much as possible.
Every student knows at least one of the special needs kids. They have seen them in the hallways walking around, talking with other students and teachers, and trying to get involved with others. But what if these students never took place in any activities with the school? What if they stayed in their own classroom all day and didn’t have any communication with other people? When they graduate, how would they know what to do next?
At WCHS, special needs students participate not only in school activities, but also activities that take place inside and outside of school. In the program at WCHS, special needs students do things in the school, such as different recreation activities and things in the computer lab, and they use the spin room and gym.
They constantly work on their social skills outside of school. By often going to the grocery store, going out to eat, going shopping, and going to the library, post office and department stores, these students learn how it feels to be like everyone else.
All of the special needs students have jobs, something not all other students have. Most of these jobs do take place in the school, however, some volunteer outside of school.
At WCHS, the students are put into rooms based on what the parent and child wants. Some parents have more concerns about getting their child out in the open and with the other students more than other parents. Depending on the student, they can be placed in classrooms with other children who also have disabilities for part or all of the day.
“We teach functional life skills in the STARR program. The students are all on a non-diploma track. They will graduate with a certificate of completion. We will try our best to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to be as independent as possible,” said Mrs. Martz, one of the special needs teachers at WCHS.
Special needs students interact extremely well with the other students. The same goes for how students interact with special needs students.
“Something I have noticed at WCHS, is the peer tutors. You often see them in the hallways walking with the students and talking to them,” said Mrs. Barkey, the new sophomore assistant principal.
Students often take peer tutoring as an elective. By doing this, they get the opportunity to spend part of their day doing some of the previously mentioned activities with the special needs kids.
Special needs kids at WCHS have always been and will always be treated no differently by the peer tutors than the way they would treat their own friends, according to Mrs. Martz.
By placing special needs students in the correct classrooms, and by showing them throughout the day what it will be like when they graduate, they will be able to discover what real life is going to be for them.