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Children Overcoming Social Challenges in Schools

Zachary Phillips ( Intern, Affinity Patient Advocacy )

With the current climate of the United States schooling system, there is a growing and relentless pressure to excel socially and academically. These expectations can make it hard for students to perform to the standard that is set, especially those with social or educational challenges. No matter the circumstances, it is still the school's job to ensure the student is receiving the absolute best education for their circumstances. This short paper

will shed some light on problems currently faced by children who need support in school, and what schools are currently doing right to combat the issue.

The struggles these students must deal with come in a wide variety from understanding social cues to following simple directions. These social cues are usually through nonverbal communications such as general body language and facial expressions. When those fundamentals of communication are not understood by a child it manifests into more troubles when trying to make genuine connections with their peers. The unfortunate byproduct of this failed connection with their classmates is most often bullying, which obviously leads to a slew of other problems. Although bullying is a very complex issue with many possible factors, in children there tends to be a lack of empathy instigating the problem. That brings us to what schools are doing well to combat this toxic cycle.

In the current day all well run districts place a heavy emphasis on promoting empathy, conflict resolution, and awareness. The traits listed are important due to how if properly taught, it nurtures a community in the school where acceptance is a given, and exclusion is seen as a problem. Additionally, many schools offer various programs to help children with all different types of special needs learn to adapt to the school environment and be an active participant in social environments. Good counselors will also go around the school or host assemblies where they will choose a certain topic regarding this problem and explain it to the students. It's a great way to spread awareness and a more inclusive attitude at the school, while also giving lessons to the child on how to be genuinely good, upstanding people in their community.

Moreover, schools have implemented programs other than the ones. The most effective of these programs is the utilization of the Individualized Educational Plans or IEPs for short. This not only allows for an extra support system for the student, but also gives accommodations. Most importantly, it outlines the specific goals that should be achieved by the student based on where they're at. The framework this lay is a vital piece of what the child needs to succeed in and outside of class. However, despite the positive impacts these programs make, the system isn't perfect and possesses some shortcomings.

While the schooling system is taking steps to positively impact the students, there is an ever-growing need for resources to be adequately distributed to support these programs. Without the proper amount of resources, the system has no chance in succeeding to help in schools. The other factor that is tied into the resources is staffing. Adequate staffing is vital in providing individualized support and attention to the students who may need them. This individualized support is what makes the programs thrive, so it is imperative that there is enough staff for it to be a successful program. Unfortunately, this funding does not reach all schools equally, meaning the care a student receives can vastly differ from another going through the same programs. To address the shortcomings of the system and ensure there is support for all students equally, it is crucial to focus on staffing and resource allocation.

In conclusion, to address the challenges that these students face it requires an approach that highlights empathy, support, and awareness. Even though schools have been implementing programs such as the IEP, there is still room for improvement. Proper implementation of ways to get more resources and passionate teachers is essential in ensuring each student is getting the support that they deserve to thrive socially and academically. It is important to advocate for these changes as soon as possible so no child is left without these amazing programs in the future. By providing the necessary support systems and resources, an inclusive and supportive learning environment is sure to be nurtured throughout the entire school year.

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