Shiloh Point Elementary teachers Cindy Pruitt and Debbie Hirsch.
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April 13, 2014CUMMING, Ga. — Exceptional Children's Week is an annual celebration of students with exceptionalities and the professionals who serve them.
From March 10 through March 14, Georgia observed Exceptional Children's Week (ECW). The theme this year was "Going Beyond All Possibilities."
Several Forsyth County schools celebrated ECW.
Education and awareness are the focal points of ECW, because for most students, their first exposure to a person with special needs is in the school environment.
Through education, students are more prepared to empathize with special students and engage with them.
ECW is also an opportunity to point out that special needs cover a spectrum of issues and are not limited to students in self-contained special education classrooms.
Many children walking the school corridors fall under the umbrella of special education.
At South Forsyth Middle School, with Principal Sandy Tinsley's support, the guidance and special education departments spearheaded the school's ECW celebration.
The student leadership team, called S.O.A.R. (Show Others Acceptance and Respect), designed posters featuring famous people who have succeeded in spite of their "disabilities."
The posters were on display throughout the school, and examples included Helen Keller, Steve Jobs and Michael Phelps.
Schools also used the week as an opportunity to celebrate special education teachers, therapists and paraprofessionals who, due to their small classes, might easily be overlooked during Teacher Appreciation Week celebrations.
At Shiloh Point Elementary School, where Sarah Armstrong is the ECW PTA chair, the ECW committee had T-shirts made for the special education staff, which they wore on spirit day.
Every year since Shiloh Point opened, they've held a huge parade for special needs children.
All the teachers and students line up throughout the school, hold up posters and pompoms and cheer as their fellow students march (or in some cases wheel) down the hallway – giving them the hope to "Go Beyond All Possibilities."
Allie Smith is a special needs advocate, who has a child with autism. She's also a freelance writer and blogger at TheLatchkeyMom.com.