Students with and without disabilities should be encouraged to join after-school activities. These activities provide many benefits for students which include:
For students with disabilities, this may require discussion and planning. There is no better place to talk about a student’s participation in after-school activities than during their Admission Review Dismissal (ARD) meeting. Supplementary Aids and Services (SAS) may be needed for participation, and they should be documented in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) paperwork. Once documented, they must be provided to the student.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines SAS as “aids, services and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings to enable the child with a disability to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.”
Here are a few examples of SAS:
Each child’s SAS can and should look different. Don’t ask, “Can my child participate?” Instead ask, “What supports allow my child to participate?” Then, put those supports in place.
When looking at what’s available, look at all options. Don’t limit activities to those only for students with disabilities. If you’re not sure what’s available, ask the school for a list of activities. You may be surprised at the number of options you and your child have, which often include:
Finding the activity your child enjoys may take time. Don’t give up! In the end, it will be worth it to see how happy your child is.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills go beyond academics. Everyday life provides opportunities to apply these skills. During my son’s educational career, a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills was often noted in his Individualized Education Plan paperwork. While he may struggle with these skills academically, he solves problems all the time in his daily life.