Tyndall provides resources for National Special Education Day

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Nordheim
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

In recognition of National Special Education Day, Team Tyndall’s 325th Force Support Squadron’s exceptional family member coordinator, school liaison officer and legal office hosted an information fair at Tyndall Air Force Base, Dec. 2, 2022, to give out information about special education and local resources.
This year at Tyndall Main Exchange, event attendees were able to receive information about special education in the state of Florida and ask any questions or bring up concerns they might have.

“December 2nd is National Special Education Day, and we want to bring awareness to special education and bring opportunity for families to gather information,” said Shannon Scott, 325th FSS exceptional family member coordinator. “We can talk about the resources that military families have, any special education needs that they have, and provide our community the opportunity to recognize those special education families and teachers.”

National Special Education Day was established to remember the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act into law in 1975. The IDEA grant gives access to free, quality public education to children with special needs.

“According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 1970, only one in five children with disabilities received an education in United States schools, and many states passed laws excluding those with certain disabilities from classrooms,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Lynn Guery, 325th Fighter Wing Judge Advocate assistant staff judge advocate. “Since IDEA, schools have taken active steps to establish education plans, deliver services and make accommodations for special needs children, and these steps have led to students with disabilities succeeding scholastically – for instance, the majority of students with disabilities between the ages of 14 to 21 graduated with a high school diploma in the 2017-2018 school year.”

National Special Education Day is a reminder to the nation of the importance of creating and maintaining accommodations for families with special education needs. The military is often recognized as a large “melting-pot” of families, many of which may have children with disabilities. National Special Education Day helps dispel misconceptions about disabilities, provides a chance to thank teachers, and recognize that children are the future.

“I provide local information resources, help families become their [own] best advocate, as well as show what special education looks like as a military family,” said Scott. “We can talk to families or local schools and determine what needs to happen and provide the families a roadmap of what the process looks.”

Multiple resources on the installation are offered to the Tyndall community. Members are encouraged to reach out to the 325th FSS exceptional family member coordinator, school liaison officer or the legal office for any comments, questions, or concerns they may face when arriving to or living at Tyndall.

“The legal office offers legal assistance services to the Tyndall Air Force Base community, including EFMP families for whom Special Education Day may hold great significance,” said Guery. “The legal assistance services may include one-on-one sessions with an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate to discuss a parent or guardian’s rights regarding a special needs child’s individualized education plan and information on the federal laws that may affect that child’s educational experiences and opportunities, among other matters.”

To ensure all children have access to educational opportunities people can also volunteer in special education classrooms, collect and donate supplies, or spread awareness and appreciation.