December 2nd is designated as National Special Education Day to honor the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which was born into law on December 2, 1972, and mandated education for ALL American children.
IDEA has impacted us all— whether through forbearance and understanding of the importance of supporting individuals living with disabilities, bridging gaps to build kinder more accepting communities, recognizing the importance of EVERY individual’s abilities and limitations, and celebrating these individuals successes.
#SpecialEducationDay honors the progress and successes made in special education for children with disabilities, and celebrates inclusivity as well as enhanced quality of life for children with disabilities.
It is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of special education teachers and administrators, special education students well as their parents and caregivers. This special day continues to represent the importance of continued growth and progress for special education programs in schools.
Think of where the world would be without the genius and significant societal impacts made by individuals with disabilities such as Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking, Andrea Bocelli, Michael J. Fox, Stevie Wonder, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Marlee Matlin, Frida Kahlo, and the list goes on. As community members, it is the responsibility of all to support schools and special education programs to be successful in helping children and adults with disabilities excel and there are many ways you can help to celebrate this significant day in American history.
Five ways YOU can celebrate National Special Education Day:
- VOLUNTEER– Volunteerism is vitally important and appreciated. Consider becoming a school volunteer with a special education program and/or a community organization such as Partnership for Children https://ccpfc.org/ which 100% dedicated to supporting diverse populations and children with disabilities.
- DONATE– Donate time, money, goods, advocacy to special education programs, non-profit organizations that support children with disabilities, programs that are working toward special education reform. Donate here at National Center for Learning Disabilities- https://www.ncld.org/what-we-do/ Partnership for Children: https://ccpfc.org/
- PRACTICE INCLUSION– Teach your children, family and friends about the importance of inclusion and equality. Read books, watch movies, listen to music that feature individuals with disabilities. Invite individuals with disabilities to be part of your life and educate yourself on their unique gifts and the impact on your life by embracing friendships and family ties with these individuals. Utilize “Universal Design” to make your home, office, business accessible to all individuals despite their needs. https://www.washington.edu/doit/universal-design-process-principles-and-applications
- SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE– Post on social media about your personal experience and how IDEA impacted your life. Remember to use #SpecialEducationDay on your social media posts. You can join the National PTA.org on Twitter for hashtag #EveryChild conversation: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23EveryChild&src=hash
- EDUCATE YOURSELF– Research different disability-related organizations and special education programs, and topics to build your understanding and awareness of the variety of challenges individuals face. National PTA.org offers a Special Education Toolkit full of helpful information on its website here: https://www.pta.org/home/family-resources/Special-Education-Toolkit or visit the National Association of Special Education Teachers website for updated information on disability-related topics https://www.naset.org/