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teaching career. When she first started teaching, Special Education was for children that couldn’t function in a regular class setting. A child was placed in Special Education class after testing and recommendation from a psychologist. She recalls the Special Education department in Yankton consisting of two teachers and two aides dividing approximately 25 students. In 1975, the Public Law 94-142, or Education for all Handicapped Children Act was passed. This law guaranteed a free public education to every child with a disability. The law brought forth many changes and has evolved greatly over the years. Natasha explains, “it’s a pretty new thing that everybody has a right to school in this country.” This law brought forth the introduction of Resource Rooms, special classrooms where students with disabilities can be assisted more closely with their needs. With the law, Martha explains, “there’s a whole spectrum of services that federal law outlines with kids that maybe just need a little help during their school day all the way to kids that need to be in a separate facility.” The number of students in Special Education has greatly increased during Judy’s career. During her first year of teaching, there were about 25 children in the Special Education program and when she retired, she had 45 kids just in her caseload. “There must be 350-400 kids in special education in Yankton now but it’s because there’s a whole range of services available,” she states. They explain to me that because of the increased advancement in the program, there is a shortage of teachers in the field. Judy recalls her first years of teaching, when there wasn’t a customized plan for each student like there is now, referring to the IEP, or Individualized Education Plan. The trio explain the IEP is given to each student in Special Education to provide the best education possible. This is a team effort between students, parents, teachers, administrators and any other parties that may need to be involved. They discuss the significant amount of time and effort involved for the paperwork in their careers. Martha admits, “I don’t think I could have gotten through the first year of being a Special Education teacher if I didn’t have someone to call.” They agree that the paperwork is one of the most challenging aspects of their careers. Politics is also challenging as there are promises made that often aren’t kept, like funding. Martha comments, “Education is one of the few property rights that a child has in this country, an important civil right. Every single child is required by law to be provided an education.” “Public school is a real foundation of our entire society and our culture,” Natasha adds. “This is why funding is so important for education.” A Valuable Resource Judy has become a huge resource to her daughters as she has kept many of her teaching techniques and materials from over the years. They all laugh about the abundance of information she has stowed away. “That’s what makes her such a good source of information too,” Natasha smiles. Judy has been teaching in the Yankton School District so long that she has witnessed many of the students’ progress over the years and has even taught children of her previous students. She explains the delayed gratification for her; though she may not see immediate progress during the student’s first year or two, the progress often becomes evident as the student gets older. vFAMILY BOND continued on page 23 When you want brand-name sunwear, choose Vision Care Associates www.visioncareassociates.net 605.665.2020 2701 Fox Run Parkway, Yankton, SD 57078 A S S O C I AT E S Dr. Steven Anderson, Dr. Aaron Feser, Dr. Laura Slowey HERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019v7

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