Special needs inclusion is a priority in Williamson County Schools, where a high level of including students who have special needs or learning or physical disabilities has made a positive impact on many students and families.
Every day, sixth grader Ryan Williams starts and ends the school day with a high five to the bus driver. He has Down Syndrom, and rides the regular school bus instead of the special education bus. His mother, Andrea Arnold praises the effect it has had on his life.
“I have no doubt that if he needed something, those children would do all they could to help out,” Arnold said.
Approximately 10 percent of Williamson County’s students have disabilities. According to WCS Student Support Services Director Carol Hendlmyer, being as inclusive as possible while providing adequate services is part of following the law.
“I believe as a district we have a belief that the employees of this district support all students, not just special ed students, and hold high expectations for all students. The ‘inclusion’ part of that is to expect every individual student to achieve,” Hendlmyer said.
Parents are generally pleased with the support services, but the high level of inclusion in all areas of school life has made the biggest difference.