Students with disabilities will soon be getting more help when it comes to athletics. Organizers of "miracle leagues" in Whitfield County and Chattanooga say they've already seen what that can do for special needs children.
"We have a bunch of children now who have autism, and normally those children don't socialize and the parents have told me that's the best thing in the world for them. They've learned to socialize with everyone," says Dave Dake, Commissioner of Chattanooga's "Dream League".
"I think it's an opportunity for true understanding to form and be created between all students," says Millie Hicks, Co-Director of the Whitfield County "Miracle League"
The new directive for the Department of Education says school districts must include or provide equal alternatives to students, reasonable modifications to games, and qualified students with required aides.
"We, already in Hamilton County have many, many students with disabilities that are already participating in extra curricular and sports activities. We have students that play on particular teams that may be deaf and we provide interpreters for them," says Margaret Abernathy, Director of Exceptional Education for Hamilton County Schools.
Some admit figuring out how to comply could be tough, but will make a difference to kids in the long run.
"We don't have the ends and outs and the details of this directive coming from the federal government and we'll be certainly anxious to see what they are. Most of the students that we serve in Hamilton County in our schools are served with typical peers or having access to typical peers and I think that's extremely important," Abernathy adds.
"It will be a challenge to include all students no matter the range abilities, but I think it's important to include them all in some way, there should be an opportunity for them to participate and to represent their school," adds Hicks.
For more information on the Whitfield County Miracle League, click on http://whitfieldcountymiracleleague.com
. For more info on the Chattanooga Dream League, click on http://RivermontYAA.org