Our special needs students are children first with all of the needs, desires, and feelings of children without disabilities. They are more like other children than different. Their disabilities are inconveniences that keep them from enjoying full lives, and therefore must be overcome or compensated for so that the children can grow and move out into the world.
SNS exists for its students; the students do not exist for the school. Children do not have to “qualify” for SNS, they simply must need it. Students don’t have to fit into the classes; the class and program is made to meet the individual student’s needs.
Classes are cross-categorical and grouped, with occasional exceptions, by chronological age. Each student has something to offer his/her classmates. Higher functioning students are models for their lower functioning peers. Lower functioning students teach their peers patience, tolerance, and compassion. Each student learns that he/she does some things better than other classmates do and some things not as well. They learn that a person’s value is not related to what he/she can or can’t do but is inherent in his/her very existence as a child of God.
Parents know their children the best and can provide us with the most important information about our students. We listen to their pain and joy; support their efforts and treat them with respect, concern, compassion and gentleness.