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I think that the significance of stake holders supporting families with special needs children is to help them ensure that a specific child's success is evident. Special Education has transformed over the last decade or two. Stakeholders or advocates supporting families were needed in decades past to ensure that some services were provided. Special Education existed in a very rudimentary form, in which stakeholders were needed to provide some level of accommodation to Special Education students.
In our current context, Special Education is accepted as a vital part of the modern educational setting. However, with this integration has come so much else. Paperwork, legal constructions, definitions, Individualized Education Plans, other initiatives designed to intervene on behalf of student learning, and to ensure that these plans follow students from grade level to grade level are all just a small part of what families with special needs children experience. Stakeholders or advocates are now needed to help families wade through the morass of such reality. They are needed to help buffer families between the needs of helping their children as well as the jargon and documentation which can be overwhelming. Ensuring that families' needs and, more importantly, the needs of the individual student are being met by school districts and individual classrooms becomes the fundamental challenged now facing advocates or stakeholders.
I'm going to substitute stakeholders for community members. When living in a community, we want all our members to be a contributing member of our community. If we do not assist students with special needs in becoming community members that are able to participate in daily activities, we instead must contribute to the care they receive. Helping students become functioning, independent, happy adults, benefits all community members. More people with disabilities are employed and fewer are living off government assistance. More people with disabilities are participating in community activities and fewer are struggling to find a purpose to their daily lives. All positive outcomes are evident when community members can function together.
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