Every Child Deserves A Meaningful Education

Can my child participate in after-school activities?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2021 | Special Education Law |

Classes are not the only critical aspect of your child’s education. The activities offered through school also play a significant role in their lives.

These activities are fun, but they are also important. They foster social development. And students with disabilities have a right to the same opportunities and education as all other students.

So, what should parents and students know when it comes to extracurricular activities?

There are many benefits to after-school activities

It is likely that you already know the benefits of extracurriculars, especially if you participated in them yourself as a student. These activities provide considerable benefits for students with disabilities, including:

  • Offering more chances to make friends outside of class
  • Improving social skills and mental health
  • Realizing or sharpening talents and passions they have
  • Building your child’s confidence

These are things that all students deserve. Access to these activities is just as important as access to education.

Do education plans cover these activities?

Yes, your child’s independent education plan (IEP) could cover extracurricular activities. In fact, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) specifically covers these activities.

This means that students can receive the aids or accommodations they have in class in order to participate in the activities they choose, including but not limited to:

  • Sports
  • Clubs, such as the school newspaper
  • Band, theater or choir

What might this look like in action? For example, if your child has a visual impairment but wants to participate in the school newspaper or the theater program, the accommodations from their IEP would apply for the activities. This might involve the use of screen readers while creating newspaper articles or obtaining an audio version of the script.

Discuss these activities with the IEP team

Certain rules will still apply. For example, all students will have to try out for a sports team or a theater production. But the rules of these tryouts or activities cannot prevent your child from participating.

Additionally, you will have to discuss the extracurriculars and the need for accommodations with the IEP team to confirm the activity is covered. Even so, it is critical to remember that your child has the right to participate in these activities – just like every other child.